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Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald , Published March 05 2012

New factory to create at least 100 jobs in Devils Lake

DEVILS LAKE - A wheat straw pulping and molding factory will open here this year, creating at least 100 jobs within the first two years and producing biodegradable products made from crops grown in the region.

Ultra Green, based in Plymouth, Minn., will open in an existing building in Devils Lake’s industrial park on the west side of the city. It expects to expand to as many as 400 jobs over the next several years, according to CEO Mack Traynor, a Fargo native.

“We are extremely excited to bring manufacturing jobs to Devils Lake, and be the first company in the U.S. to manufacture biodegradable, compostable and sustainable bakeable food service products made from wheat straw,” he said. “Having the factory here will open much larger markets for millions of ‘Made in the USA’ Ultra Green products.”

Ultra Green markets products to natural food and grocery stores throughout the nation via regional and national distributors. Its products can be found in several large chains, including Whole Foods, Safeway, Sam’s Club and Target Cafeteria.

“Ultra Green did a nationwide search for the best place to locate its new operation and we are very proud that Devils Lake was selected due to its close proximity to an abundance of wheat straw, adequate supply of water and an economic development environment that can compete with any city in the nation,” said Mayor Dick Johnson.

The company is receiving an economic development grant through the city to develop the factory. Terms of the grant were not immediately available.

Forward Devils Lake, the city’s economic development group, made the request for funding during a special Devils Lake City Commission meeting Friday, according to Executive Director Chris Schilken.

“This product meets many of our requirements for economic development in the state of North Dakota,” Johnson said. “It combines manufacturing and agricultural products to serve a growing green marketplace need.”

The company also makes similar products from sugar cane fiber at other factories in the nation.