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, Kentucky.
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 & 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.”
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.
“We are grateful for Champion Petfoods' continued investment in the Commonwealth,” said 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.”