AUBURN  — Representatives from a Canadian pet food company didn't just host a groundbreaking in Auburn this evening, they threw a party.

Champion Petfoods held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier today for Kentucky Kitchens, the first establishment in the United States that will follow the company's mission of using local ingredients to make their pet food.

Gov. Steve Beshear, Champion's chief executive officer Frank Burdzy and other members of Champion management attended the ceremony that was held in a climate-controlled tent in an empty field on U.S. 68-Ky. 80.

Champion will invest $85 million in the project, which Beshear said shows the company's confidence in the community and the state.

"That ought to make you proud of the work force here, the quality of life here in Auburn and Logan County, Ky.," Beshear said.

Kentucky Kitchens will employ 147 people and all ingredients will come from local farmers.

"I can tell you without equivocation that my four dogs are just as excited about this as you are," Beshear joked.

After the groundbreaking, attendees were treated to local foods while a live band played bluegrass tunes.

Peter Muhlenfeld, vice president of sales and marketing for Champion, said the company is thrilled to be "Kentucky proud."

"We really do feel like we're home," Muhlenfeld said.

The facility is set to open Jan. 1, 2016.

— For more on this story see Thursday's Daily News.