Canada-based Champion Petfoods to build $85 million plant in Auburn area
By Jim Turner

Posted on April 24, 2014 9:20 PM

Governor Steve Beshear Thursday announced Champion Petfoods USA Inc. plans to open its first U.S. kitchen in Logan County. The company, which specializes in Biologically Appropriate pet foods using fresh local ingredients, will create 147 new jobs.

“Champion Petfoods is growing worldwide, and we are extremely pleased they have chosen to invest in Logan County,” said Beshear. “Not only will Champion Petfoods bring vital agricultural jobs to the region, but it will also create a new customer base for nearby farmers and ranchers. We look forward to this exciting partnership.”

The plant is to be located across from Shaker Implement on the Bowling Green side of Auburn, not far from South Union. The company has obtained an 84-acre site for its 300,000 square foot facility under roof, which will be divided into two buildings.

Champion’s Biologically Appropriate ORIJEN and ACANA dog and cat food brands feature unique fresh regional ingredients. Champion never outsources food production, and makes every ACANA and ORIJEN food in its own award-winning kitchens.

Champion plans to invest more than $85 million to build a world-class pet food kitchen in Auburn. Construction will begin this summer and is expected to take 18 months to complete.

The Logan plant, which is Champion’s first in the United States, is expected to employ about 150 people at full capacity at a wage of $15 per hour plus benefits.

Logan County’s agricultural heritage and proximity to ranches and farms makes locating in western Kentucky an excellent choice, the governor’s office explains.

“We rely on ingredients from local farmers and ranchers, and strong relationships with the agricultural community are key to our success. Logan County offers both,” said Frank Burdzy, Champion’s president and chief executive officer. “Pet lovers in America want more of our foods, and we feel the time is right to build a kitchen closer to our U.S. customers. We are extremely pleased that Governor Beshear and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have partnered with us to grow our food production in Logan County.”

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.

To encourage the investment and job growth in Logan County, 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.

The company will, however, pay Logan County school taxes in full, according to Tom Harned, executive director of the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD), who was instrumental in bringing the company to the Land of Logan.

Champion will use RJ Corman rail and long-haul trucks in its operation. Water will be provided by East Logan Water District and the Logan Todd Water Commission. Wastewater treatment will be provided by the city of Auburn. Telephone and high speed internet fiber will come from Logan Telephone Cooperative. Atmos will be the provider of natural gas. Electricity will be come from Warren Rural Electric Cooperative, which is the provider for the east side of Auburn in Logan County.

Harned says TVA has been a “valued participant in the recruiting of Champion to Logan County.

“TVA congratulates Champion Petfoods on their decision to locate company operations and add new jobs in Auburn,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development. “TVA and Warren RECC are pleased to assist Champion through our partnership with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Logan Economic Alliance for Development, the city of Auburn and the Logan County Fiscal Court.”

New plants such as this often create the need for satellite industries and suppliers. Harned notes, “Champion will host customers from all over the world at the Auburn facility.” More agricultural opportunities are expected to result from this as well.”

“I think it says a lot about our community that Champion Petfoods chose here for its first U.S. location,” said Rep. Martha Jane King of Lewisburg. “This is great news for Auburn and the surrounding region, and these new jobs will mean so much to the families who benefit.  I want to thank the company’s leaders for investing so much here and our local and state officials for working together to make this possible.”

“Champion Petfoods’ investment in Logan County is exciting,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville. “To have been chosen as the location for their first U.S. operations is quite a compliment to our community and a boost to our workforce. I look forward to personally welcoming them to Logan County.”

Representatives from Logan County have inspected the facilities in Alberta Canada and found them to be clean, well managed and an asset to the community,” Harned said. As is usually the case in economic recruitment, the recruitment and negotiations were secretive. The effort was code-named Project Greyhound.

“Champion Petfoods is a community-minded company, and I’m excited to welcome them to south central Kentucky,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes. “Champion’s investment will have a significant impact on our region’s economy and will put more Kentuckians back to work.”
Local officials have been assured that Champions’ kitchens will be state of the art in compliance will all EPA and FDA requirements

“We are very pleased about Champion’s plans to make such a significant financial investment in their Logan County kitchen,” said Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick. “Logan County is truly fortunate to welcome Champion Petfoods. It is known as an outstanding corporate citizen and committed to pet lovers worldwide, and we want to support economic growth by bringing these good jobs to our region.”

For more information on Champion Petfoods, visit


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