FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2016) – Gov. Matt Bevin today announced Champion Petfoods USA will add production capacity at its recently opened DogStar® Kitchens in Auburn, taking its total employment to 200 and overall investment to more than $178 million in Logan County.
“We are grateful for Champion Petfoods' continued investment in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Bevin. “Their decision reaffirms what many companies have also discovered. Kentucky is an ideal location for manufacturing, distribution and logistics. This expanded operation in Logan County will benefit the entire region, and we look forward to Champion Petfoods’ ongoing success.”
In January, Champion started cooking in its first U.S. kitchens, a 147-job, $120 million production and distribution center. The Logan County facility spans 371,000 square feet on an 85-acre site. Since announcing the initial project in 2014, Champion opted to add a third production line, thanks to anticipated demand in the U.S. and Latin America, while maintaining the facility’s overall size.
“We are Kentucky Proud to be able to announce our DogStar® Kitchens expansion in Logan County, Kentucky. The expansion will advance our Biologically Appropriate™, fresh regional ingredient, never outsourced mandate,” said Champion Petfoods President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “We built our kitchens in the Kentucky countryside, integrated into the farmlands, where we can feel inspired. We rely on Kentucky farmers, ranchers and fishermen who have a deep-rooted heritage for fresh regional ingredients, and local people to fill our team. We have found the world’s best in Kentucky.”
Champion’s Biologically Appropriate™ ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat food brands feature fresh regional ingredients. Based in Morinville, Alberta, Champion Petfoods is a Canadian company with agriculture roots dating back to 1985. Its award-winning brands are sold in more than 80 countries. Champion never outsources food production and makes everything in its kitchens, such as DogStar® Kitchens in Auburn.
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville, thanked the company for its commitment to the community.
“I am thrilled that Champion Petfoods has established itself in our local community,” he said. “With 200 new jobs and a huge investment in our regional economy, I thank Frank Burdzy and the entire Kentucky DogStar® Kitchens team for its commitment to Auburn and Logan County.”
Rep. Martha Jane King, of Lewisburg, recalled the company’s decision to locate its first U.S. operation in Auburn.
“It meant a lot when Champion Petfoods chose Auburn for its first U.S. location, and today’s announcement is further proof that the company is a perfect fit for our community,” she said. “This additional investment, and the jobs that go with it, is a game-changer for our county and region. I cannot thank its leaders enough for taking this step, and I have been proud to work with many others to make them feel welcome and to ensure they have what they need.”
Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes expressed his gratitude to Champion Petfoods and its management for their confidence in the community.
“Auburn is flattered at the faith Champion has shown in Auburn and we are delighted that they made this very quick decision to expand in their very first year of operation,” Mayor Hughes said. “We could not ask for a better corporate citizen. Champion Petfoods is a tremendous asset to the Auburn area.”
Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said the expansion of Champion Petfoods is a testament to the business climate in the region.
“We are very pleased that Champion has decided to expand their kitchen this quickly,” Judge Chick said. “This demonstrates the ability of Logan County to staff a growing business with quality employees and promote growth. Champion Petfoods is an outstanding company and we welcome their expansion.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the region, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in October gave final approval to an incentive agreement with Champion for up to $12 million in state tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program. That reflected the company’s expansion, adding to KEDFA’s original 2014 preliminary approval of up to $8.7 million in incentives. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In 2014, KEDFA also approved Champion Petfoods for tax benefits up to $1.3 million through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
Champion can also receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
For more information on Champion Petfoods, visit www.ChampionPetfoods.com.
A detailed community profile for Logan County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/LoganCo.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2015 totaled a state record $5.1 billion, spurring more than 16,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.