(WBNG Binghamton) U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin soliciting proposals on May 20 from Greek yogurt makers who will be seeking to provide Greek yogurt to 12 states as part of USDA’s recently expanded Greek yogurt pilot program.
Schumer is urging New York Greek yogurt producers like Alpina, Fage, Chobani, Muller Quaker and more, to apply for the expanded pilot. The program, which will expand to eight new states, will run from September 2014 to June 2015 and include New York, Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Mississippi. USDA will select one or multiple vendors to provide Greek yogurt.
The expansion is part of Schumer’s pursuit of permanently adding this high-nutrition and protein-rich food to the USDA School Lunch Program.
“Bringing NY-made Greek yogurt to school lunchrooms across the country will further the growth of our burgeoning dairy industry, and solidify New York’s reputation as the Greek yogurt capital,” said Schumer. “These Greek yogurt producers support jobs throughout our state, in dairy farms from the Finger Lakes to the Hudson Valley; so helping them grow their business through this pilot will help our economy, all while providing a high-protein, nutritious snack for our kids.”
Schumer urged the USDA to expand the pilot program to additional states, following news in January that schools that participated in an initial 3-month Greek yogurt pilot had consumed 200,000 pounds and $300,000-worth of Greek yogurt.