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One Million Dollar Donation to Research Dairy

One Million Dollar Donation to Idaho Research Dairy

“We’re grateful that you are here with us to celebrate our one-million-dollar pledge to the Idaho CAFE,” said Mark Broadhurst, Chobani Vice President, Impact & Advocacy.

“I believe that this is literally gonna catapult us into the next area of greatness as far as agriculture in the Magic Valley,” said Idaho Governor Brad Little.

On May 11th at their plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, Chobani announced a one-million-dollar gift to the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, known as Idaho CAFE for short. The Idaho CAFE will be the largest research dairy in the United States and will be built near the town of Rupert in Minidoka County.

“In taking this step today we do so with a focus on sustainability, ensuring that important voices are heard, and ensuring that the community is a part of the solution,” said Broadhurst.

“This resource center was a dream,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani Founder & CEO. “It was mentioned years ago and now the state, the federal government, university, companies like Chobani and others coming together and bringing this to life. This is a gift for our children, this is a gift for our state, this is a gift for our farmers, this is a gift for businesses yet to come in this country. So, I am extremely proud for this.”

The 22.5-million-dollar project is a public-private partnership between multiple organizations, including the University of Idaho and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association to name just a few.

“You know this is a great day for the University of Idaho, Idaho agriculture and the dairy industry nationwide. Frankly on behalf of the University of Idaho I want to thank Chobani for their significant investment in the Idaho CAFE project,” said University of Idaho President Scott Green. “Building the nations largest research dairy has been a goal of the University of Idaho for well over 12 years. And frankly we are the third largest milk producing state in the country, so it’s important that we support sustainable agriculture across all of Idaho.”

The 2,000-cow dairy along with a 640-acre demonstration farm will focus on research into sustainability of dairy, livestock, crop production, and food processing in Idaho.

“Chobani’s’ gift to benefit the research that the dairy industry needs speaks to their investment in the sustainability of the dairy industry and their producers, particularly in the western region of the U.S. where dairy is different,” said Michael Parrella, U of I Dean of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“We will be conducting research to assess the environmental impact of dairies, and effective nutrient management, pursuing advances in precision agriculture, addressing water quality and quantity, and evaluating the intersection between agriculture and urban lands,” said  Parrella.

“To be standing here before you today, to have this contribution from Chobani, and the fact that we’re talking about a groundbreaking on June 30th is really, for us sometimes hard to believe,” said Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairyman’s Association. “This dairy and this research center is all about sustainability and the reality for our dairy producers that I represent… sustainability, honestly is not always the most welcome term. Because what it does represent for our dairy producers is typically the expectation that they have to once again figure out how to do more with less. And that’s the pressure that our dairy producers feel, and this research center is all built around how do we help give our dairymen solutions, how do we help them accomplish these goals. You hear almost daily somebody making a greenhouse gas reduction commitment out there, whether it’s a tech company or somebody else. What often is missed in that bigger conversation is those companies can reduce that carbon footprint to a degree, but the reality is they’re going to need to lean on somebody else to sequester carbon to help them get all the way to their goal. Those individuals that will help them get there are the farmers and the ranchers and the dairymen of this country. They’re the ones that actually have the ability to implement practices to sequester carbon. And that’s really what this center’s about, that’s what this contribution’s about is helping us collectively figure out how do we accomplish these goals, and how do we change the narrative for our dairy producers and our farmers and ranchers to have sustainability represent something that becomes an income stream for them to make their operation more viable, so they have something to pass onto their children and grandchildren,” said Naerebout.

Idaho CAFE also includes and an outreach and education center in Jerome, and food processing education on the CSI campus in Twin Falls, with a focus on expanding the future workforce.

“Today we run 24/7. We just started initiative that we will another billion dollars worth of product out of this factory. And that means we have a lot more work to do, we’re not stopping,” said Ulukaya. “And that means we need to bring more help. The most important help that we need is educated young Idahoans. Either people from here or people come to our state and educated in our state schools and would love to stay and be employed here and live and build life here. We all have to come together to make sure that this young talent stays in this beautiful place. That is our next challenge that we have to face, and we have to overcome.”

The University of Idaho is set to break ground on June 30th.

For the Voice if Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.

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Paul Boehlke