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Politicians are working to get Greek yogurt onto the plates of America’s children which only bodes good news for Western New York dairy farmers.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Richard Hanna want to make Greek yogurt a part of the federal school lunch program due to its high protein content. 

“It’s just one more opportunity for people to be able to enjoy and taste and reap the benefits of a healthy, delicious snack,” Steve Ammerman, a spokesperson for the New York Farm Bureau, said.

Greek yogurt – which has twice the protein as traditional yogurt – could also benefit school districts financially.

“What this (proposal) does is it reclassifies the nutrition guidelines that would allow school districts to purchase Greek yogurt in smaller quantities,” Ammerman said, “meaning it would be more affordable for them to offer as an alternative in their school lunches.”

Introducing young children to Greek yogurt at school, besides being a nutritious dairy option, would only help the industry because the exposure could make them consumers of the product for life, adding endurance for New York Greek yogurt producers.

70 percent of the nation’s Greek Yogurt is produced in the Empire State. Batavia and Genesee County have been at the forefront of Greek yogurt production in the state. Alpina and Muller/Quaker have moved into the Agri-business Park specifically to invest in and produce Greek yogurt to contribute to the growing popularity of the protein-rich yogurt.

Currently, Greek yogurt is not differentiated from traditional yogurt by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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