New York State governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed to increase yogurt production in the state – signalling his intentions to make New York the US capital of yogurt production.
Speaking at the first New York State Yogurt Summit, Cuomo announced a number of actions, which once implemented will help dairy farmers increase the size of their herds and provide a greater amount of raw milk for the state’s booming yogurt industry.
Since 2000, the number of yogurt processing plants in New York State has increased from 14 to 29 and yogurt production in the state doubled between 2005 and 2011. According to 2011 figures, dairy manufacturers in New York employ more than 8,000 people with wages totalling $414m.
The introduction and continued popularity of Greek-style yogurt in the US has been a key driver in this growth. Greek-style yogurt giant Chobani, which currently holds around a 35% share of the US yogurt market, is one of several major US yogurt manufactures that call New York home.
Yogurt supply chain stakeholders, including dairy farmers and yogurt manufacturers Chobani and FAGE, attended the summit to table ideas on how to help ensure that the yogurt industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York.
“The yogurt industry is a true success story in New York and today’s yogurt summit is a prime example of how state government is going above and beyond to actively work with the industry to help it grow in New York and create jobs in New York,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo backed a proposed change to state regulations, allowing small farms to increase to size of their herds while being exempt from some permitting processes.
The proposal will increase the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) cap from 200 to 300 milking cows – making expansion more economically feasible for farmers.
The state will also work with the dairy and yogurt industry to lower energy costs by increasing and incentivising the construction and use of anaerobic digesters which turn waste produced on the farm into energy that can be used by farmers.
The New York Power Authority has shown its support for the plans by offering to work with farmers and manufacturers to determine the feasibility of constructing anaerobic digesters.
“As an entrepreneurial government, we brought all the stakeholders to the table to help the dairy industry and yogurt producers enhance their relationship so it is both beneficial to the companies and to the state. New York will do everything it can to facilitate a strong, prosperous partnership. We want the yogurt business to do well, and continue thrive in New York,” added Cuomo.
Greek yogurt manufacturers Chobani and Fage have had an existing production presence in New York State for a number of years.
Earlier this month Muller Quaker Dairy – a joint venture between PepsiCo and German dairy giant Theo Müller – broke ground on a yogurt manufacturing plant in Batavia, New York.
Cuomo joined representatives from PepsiCo and Müller at a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction.