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January 11, 2014

Lawmakers laud Greek yogurt school program

By Denise Richardson Business Beat
The Daily Star

---- — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to continue and expand a program that added Greek yogurt to school lunches, federal lawmakers said this week.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, announced the success and expansion of the USDA pilot program to serve New York-based Chobani yogurt in school lunches.

“Greek yogurt like Chobani is packed with healthy protein that our schoolchildren deserve access to in their school lunches,” Gillibrand, the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly four decades, said in a media release Thursday.

“New York State is home to a strong and growing Greek yogurt industry,” she said. “When we connect Chobani to lunchrooms across the state and across the country, we can give our children better access to healthy, nutritious food, while strengthening New York’s own dairy industry.”

Gillibrand said she was pleased to work with Hanna, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and the USDA to “build on this promising initiative.”

Schumer reported this week that the three-month pilot project that started in September was “a great success.” Children at participating schools in New York, Tennessee, Idaho and Arizona consumed 200,000 pounds of Greek yogurt worth $300,000, said Schumer, who supported an expanded program.  

Gillibrand and Hanna said after the expansion of this program to four additional states, a new bidding process in the months ahead to determine which company will source the Greek yogurt in these states. The Greek yogurt pilot program also will promote the health benefits of Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein, less sodium and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt, the lawmakers’ release said.

Chobani in Chenango County is a leading producer of Greek yogurt.

STATE OFFERS REVIEW OF STORM-RECOVERY PROGRAM

Architects, engineers and general contractors will be able to find out about the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program at a meeting in Albany later this month.

The session will be at the state Dormitory Authority building, 515 Broadway, from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 22, according to Al Decker, Schoharie Area Long Term client services manager.

New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program was established to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities severely damaged by hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Schoharie Area Long Term, or SALT, works to advance disaster recovery for families and communities in the Schoharie Creek basin and surrounding areas. For more information, contact Decker at (518) 702-5017 or AllanD@SALTRecovery.org.

CHAMBER SETS AWARDS NOMINATION DEADLINE

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Business Award and the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award.

The business award, sponsored by NBT Bank, recognizes a business that has made a sustained and substantial impact in the community, according to a chamber bulletin. The Bettiol award honors a citizen who has made a long-term impact on the region and who “gives back” to the community through business.

The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31. For more information and nomination forms, contact the Otsego County Chamber office, 189 Main St. in Oneonta, by telephoning 432-4500.

To share a business news item, contact Denise Richardson, staff writer, at (607) 432-1000, ext. 213, or at drichardson@thedailystar.com.