Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series describing a tour of Chenango County agriculture that was offered this month to New York State’s elected officials. The bus stops highlighted the county’s unique ag businesses, but also pointed to the governmental regulations that challenge them.
Chenango County forked over much more than a bail of hay last week to New York State officials who toured a unique sampling of three enterprises that make up the local agricultural industry.
After first pitching an inside look at the workings of an environmentally sound, resource conscious and successful farm – the Tumilowicz Dairy in Norwich – the tour bus proceeded to an end user that is creating a massive, new market for milk – Agro Farma Inc.
Approximately 35 spectators filed into a conference room at the former Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals plant at Woods Corners in Norwich to learn how the parent corporation of the nation’s number one Greek-style yogurt, Chobani, has grown from a start-up, five-employee business back in 2005 to employing nearly 400 today.
With corporate headquarters in Norwich and its manufacturing facility in the former Kraft plant in nearby South Edmeston (in the Town of Columbus), Agro Farma has taken the entire yogurt industry by storm. Last week’s opening of Champions Field, which Agro Farma built for the Village of New Berlin, on top of announcements of an acquisition in Australia and a $90 million expansion planned at the South Edmeston plant made for an especially timely trip.