Award-winning Canadian pet food maker to build company’s first U.S. kitchens in western Kentucky

Last updated: April 24. 2014 2:40PM - 4062 Views
By - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

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Today it’s official, said Tom Harned, Executive Director for Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD).

Champion Petfoods USA is bringing their new U.S. production and distribution to Logan County.

Harned said LEAD and many others are excited and pleased to welcome Champion Petfoods USA to Logan County. Harned said efforts have been made on this big project since last December when the company visited. Logan County competed with other states and other locations in Kentucky for this highly sought-after project.

“We’ve been working very aggressively on this project ever since they visited,” said Harned. “This is a big deal for Logan County. These are the ones you work for, hope for and dream about, hoping they come to fruition. This is a good day for LEAD and Logan County.”

The new industry will be located on the south side of US 68, one mile east of Auburn near the Shaker Farm Implement dealership, on the right hand side going towards Bowling Green. The building site is 84 acres and will be approximately 300,000 square feet under roof in two separate buildings. The multi-million dollar facility will employ 147.

Representatives from Logan County have inspected the facilities in Alberta, Canada, the company’s base of operation, and found them to be clean, well managed and an asset to the community. Local people will be employed at the Auburn site with very few transferred from Canada and wages will average $15 per hour, plus benefits. Construction will take about 18 months.

“The city council and I believe that we must first thank Champion Pet Foods USA for choosing the Auburn community for their new facility,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes. “Champion Pet Foods had many choices in where to locate. We believe that it speaks volumes about our community that they chose to locate in Auburn and Logan County. There are many people who have worked diligently to make this project a reality. The State, county and LEAD are to be commended for their dedication in bringing this project to fruition.

“Champion Petfoods is a community-minded company, and I’m excited to welcome them to south central Kentucky. Champion’s investment will have a significant impact on our region’s economy and will put more Kentuckians back to work. These are extremely nice people with a rural heritage similar to ours. This compatibility will serve all parties well as we move into the future together.”

Governor Steve Beshear was also very excited to announced Champion’s plans to come to Logan County late Thursday morning.

“Champion Petfoods is growing worldwide, and we are extremely pleased they have chosen to invest in Logan County,” said Gov. 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.”

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.

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

“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 US 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.

“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. “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. “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.”

“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.”

Chick went on to say this will be a shot in the arm for Logan County economically and wishes to thank all those who worked closely together to make this happen.

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.”

For additional information contact Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD) in Russellville at 270-726-9575 or visit www.championpetfoods.com.

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