Champion Petfoods to expand Auburn plant


Newly opened facility’s overall investment to top $178 million

Champion Petfoods is pleased to announce that it will expand its cooking capacity at its Kentucky DogStar® Kitchens. This expansion will increase total employment to 200 and overall investment to more than $178 million in Logan County.

‘‘We are Kentucky Proud to be able to announce our DogStar Kitchens expansion in Logan County. 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.’’

In January 2016, Champion started cooking on two production lines within its 371,000 square foot DogStar® kitchens in Logan County. Thanks to anticipated demand in the U.S. and Latin America, Champion is already expanding to add a third production line and increase its cooking capacity.

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.”

Purpose-built, from the ground up, to advance Champions Biologically Appropriate™, Fresh Regional Ingredient and Never Outsourced mission, the DogStar kitchens are dedicated to pet lovers everywhere. Six principals guide the continued state-of-the-art DogStar kitchen build:

  • Advance our Biologically Appropriate mission
  • Partner with a dynamic agricultural community to advance our Fresh Regional Ingredients
  • No Outsourcing
  • Earn trust with pet lovers worldwide
  • Naturally fit our DogStar kitchen into the community and countryside
  • Build the best, not the biggest kitchen in the world

“We are grateful for Champion Petfoods continued investment in the Commonwealth,’’ said Kentucky Governor Matt 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.’’

Based in Morinville, Alberta, Champion’s Biologically Appropriate ACANA and ORIJEN dog and cat food brands feature fresh regional ingredients can be found in over 80 countries worldwide. Champion never outsources by cooking all ACANA and ORIJEN foods in its award-winning kitchens, such as the DogStar Kitchens 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,” said Rep. Martha Jane King recalling the company’s decision to locate its first U.S. operation in Auburn. “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.”

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.

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Newly opened facility’s overall investment to top $178 million

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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