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Agriculture industry readies for yogurt boom

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Agriculture industry readies for yogurt boom
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Its growing popularity could mean big money for New York State. Leaders in the agricultural industry are working to capitalize on a new yogurt boom. Tamara Lindstrom has more.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A time tested product is making a comeback in the U.S.

"The marketplace has really boomed here for Greek yogurt in the last couple of years and there's certainly no sign of it slowing down," said Darrel Aubertine, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner. "In fact, indicators are that it could grow by 50 percent in the next few years."

"Greek yogurt is so popular because it's a new product here in the United States. It's a product that's very, very smooth and actually higher in protein than other yogurts. So people see it as an opportunity for better nutrition," said Kathryn Boor, Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.

Representatives from all sides of the industry met at Cornell University Thursday. They discussed ways to take advantage of a growing taste for yogurt and got a first look at the schools brand new dairy plant. It’s where new yogurt will soon be developed.

"Farmers will be advantaged with the research and the production that takes place here at Cornell," Aubertine said. "A lot of what they're doing in research based and will help grow the demand for yogurt and hopefully other products as well."

Production will begin at the new plant sometime next year. Its open design will allow students and visitors to see exactly how the products are made.

"We are opening a dairy processing plant that will have floor to ceiling windows to enable consumers to stop by and any time and see how milk moves from the farm into the final consumer product, Boor said. "We are thinking of it as developing transparency in food systems."

Administrators hope the new Stocking Hall dairy complex will become a destination for visitors, where they can pick up some knowledge and fresh dairy products as well.

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