$1.5M gift from Chobani supports dairy innovation

Stocking Hall
Robert Barker/University Photography
A bank of windows allows the public to see the activity in the dairy plant in Stocking Hall.

By producing 692 million pounds of yogurt, New York surpassed California as the top producer in the United States in 2012. A $1.5 million gift from industry leader Chobani, a New Berlin, N.Y.-based company, will support research and workforce training in dairy quality to help maintain New York’s competitive edge.

“Today is an exciting day for Chobani – as we formalize and bolster our commitment to food innovation and quality,” said Chobani President and Chief Operating Officer David Denholm. “Cornell’s Department of Food Science is one of the leading programs of its kind in the world – a match to Chobani’s leading role in Greek yogurt.”

The gift will benefit the dairy industry through staffing and training programs that support dairy quality, leadership and innovation. The funding will be used to create on-site opportunities for faculty, students and staff, including food safety and quality workshops as well as graduate student support for relevant research initiatives.

“This partnership will strengthen the science behind New York’s dairy industry and help us better accomplish our land-grant mission to bring new information, technologies and a well-prepared workforce to this expansive industry,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Our goal is not only high-quality dairy products, but also economic growth in communities that need it the most.”

Yogurt, including high-protein Greek yogurt, has become an economic powerhouse in upstate New York, with New York firms now accounting for 70 percent of all Greek yogurt sales. Established in 2005, Chobani now has nearly 3,000 employees globally and sales of more than $1 billion a year.

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Melissa Osgood