New York reaches pinnacle of yogurt production, now 'Yogurt Capital'
Friday, April 19, 2013 - 11:48 am

New York State is officially America’s Yogurt Capital, surpassing California in 2012 as the top producer of yogurt in the United States, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

New York State yogurt processors produced 692 million pounds of yogurt in 2012 compared to 587 million pounds of yogurt in California. By comparison, in 2011, California produced 627 million pounds of yogurt, compared to 554 million pounds here in New York State.

While New York has gained as a leader in Greek yogurt production, this is the first time since data on yogurt production has been available that New York has led the nation in all yogurt production. In the last five years, New York’s yogurt plants have nearly tripled in production, and milk production grew by more than one billion pounds.

New York State is also the fourth largest milk producing state in the country, producing 13.2 billion pounds of milk in 2012.

Since 2000, the number of yogurt processing plants in New York has increased from 14 to 27.

From 2007 to 2012, New York’s yogurt plants have nearly tripled in production, from 234 million pounds to estimated production of 692 million pounds. Over the same time period, the amount of milk used to make yogurt in New York increased dramatically from 166 million pounds to approximately 1.7 billion pounds. Most of the increase in yogurt production is due to the introduction and production of Greek style strained yogurt, which requires three times more milk than traditional yogurt.

The yogurt plant in North Lawrence, North Country Dairy, now run by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, seemed to be on the verge of closing for good when Upstate bought the plant from Breyers and ramped up production over the last two years.

Sen. Patty Ritchie, Republican of Heuvelton and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “Agriculture is our state’s leading industry, and the growth of the yogurt industry represents a new opportunity for our farmers to expand, create jobs and provide a boost to New York’s economy. I applaud Governor Cuomo for partnering with the Senate Agriculture Committee to cut red tape, finding ways to help our hardworking farmers meet the challenges of this ever-changing industry and continuing to help grow New York’s thriving agriculture economy.”