Canadian pet food maker to build company’s first U.S. kitchen in western Kentucky, will purchase ingredients from local farmers
AUBURN, Ky. (July 24, 2014)– Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday joined company officials and community leaders to break ground on Champion Petfoods USA Inc.’s first U.S. kitchen in Logan County.
Champion Petfoods, which specializes in “biologically appropriate” pet foods using fresh local ingredients, will create 147 new jobs and purchase its ingredients from local farmers and suppliers.
“We welcome Champion Petfoods to the commonwealth,” Beshear said. “Not only will the company create 147 jobs and invest $85 million, it also will provide a significant boost to our local farmers and Kentucky’s food production industry. I look forward to seeing this Kentucky-made product on store shelves throughout the region. Jane and I know our four dogs are equally excited.”
Champion will invest more than $85 million to build a world-class pet food kitchen in Auburn. The facility is expected to be operational in 2016.
“We found the perfect location to prepare our Biologically Appropriate foods made from fresh regional ingredients in the U.S.,” said Frank Burdzy, Champion’s president and CEO. “Access to local farmers, growers and producers will allow our new Kentucky kitchen to advance our Biologically Appropriate™ mandate.”
Champion’s Biologically Appropriate ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat food brands feature unique fresh regional ingredients. Based in Morinville, Alberta, Champion Petfoods is a proud Canadian company with agriculture roots dating back to 1985. Its award-winning ACANA and ORIJEN brands are sold in more than 70 countries. Champion never outsources food production and makes everything in its own award-winning kitchens.
Logan County’s agricultural heritage and proximity to ranches and farms is a main reason for Champion locating to the commonwealth. A $5.4 billion industry, agriculture is vital to Kentucky’s economy. The state’s 77,000 farms cover nearly 13 million acres.
“Champion Petfoods USA’s Logan County project is the perfect example of creating new markets for our farm families and adding value to Kentucky products,” said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. “This business will have a positive impact on Kentucky’s overall economy.”
“This project stands out as the first construction partnership program the Labor Cabinet has had with Gray Construction, which will allow our safety experts to help identify any hazards during frequent visits to the construction site,” said Larry L. Roberts, secretary of the Labor Cabinet. “We look forward to working with Champion Petfoods on any apprenticeship and training needs they may have in the future.”
Champion’s expansion also is the result of the Kentucky Export Initiative Trade Mission to Canada last year. Beshear met with company representatives to discuss the potential of locating a facility in Kentucky. The conversations played a direct role in Champion’s decision.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $8.7 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
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.