The Hubbard County Board is providing a letter of support for Minnesota House File 3484 and Senate File 3229, which propose a production incentive of $25 per metric ton in favor of NorthStar Pellets.

Because the pellet manufacturer is looking to locate in northern Hubbard County, Mary Thompson, executive director of the Heartland Lakes Development Commission (HLDC), presented the letter to county commissioners at their March 17 meeting.

NorthStar Pellets has “introduced legislation to help offset the transportation costs related to getting the product from the plant outside of Bemidji to the port where it can then be shipped out,” Thompson said, explaining that the company takes wood byproduct, then recycles it into pellets used primarily for heating. The pellets are mostly shipped to China, she said.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the state Legislature is currently closed and the hearings on the bills were postponed.

In the meantime, Thompson said she was contacted by Greater Bemidji Economic Development Executive Director Dave Hengel to get support from Hubbard County “because that’s actually where the plant will be located.”

Thompson said she was “disappointed” that the county wasn’t aware of this until the 11th hour, but she’s “very pleased to see that we do have some economic activity that is slated to happen in northern Hubbard County.”

The proposed legislation “is not specific to this manufacturer,” she added, so other manufacturers could access this incentive, if passed.

Once in operation, the new plant expects to create 45 direct jobs, with a 245 job total impact, resulting in $14.7 million in new wages and have a total economic impact of $56 million annually, officials say. Additionally, 100 percent of the pellets produced at the plant will be shipped overseas, bringing $17 million in export revenue per year.