Governor Andrew Cuomo will host a yogurt summit Wednesday, highlighting an expanding Upstate industry he says is a sign New York is back in business. Nick Reisman gives us a preview.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- West Virginia has coal. Texas has oil. For New York, it's yogurt, of the Greek variety. It's a growing industry that Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to harness to help grow jobs, especially in Upstate New York.
“This is big business. It's great for the dairy farmers because, especially Greek yogurt, it uses a lot of milk production, so it's a possibility for our dairy farms upstate, which are struggling, as you know,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo will host a so-called yogurt summit in Albany on Wednesday. It's an event that will bring together dairy farmers, yogurt producers and state officials.
“We're bringing everybody into the room and it's a very simple question: We now have a critical mass in this industry. How does government help? How do we remove any obstacles God forbid, but how do we actually help?” Cuomo stated.
Two of the country's biggest Greek yogurt manufacturers operate in Upstate New York. Chobani is based in New Berlin and Fage has a plant in Johnstown. With some much activity around the industry, it's becoming a challenge for the state's dairy industry to meet yogurt company's needs.
“It does raise some issues regarding the supply of milk. Our farmers are going to have to boost production in order to meet the demand and that's the real crux of the issue you're going to be hearing discussed at the summit,” said Steve Ammerman, New York Farm Bureau Spokesman,
New York is one of the top producing dairy states in the country. But it's also a volatile industry with price fluctuations that are the result of a variety of factors.
Ammerman said, “We're confident that our dairy farmers can step up to the plate and give the yogurt makers what they need. We're just looking forward to seeing what the state is going to present tomorrow to help make that happen.”
The yogurt summit is being held Wednesday at the Egg Center for Performing Arts and starts at 10 a.m.