Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Agrana Fruit, the top producer of fruit preparations for the dairy industry, will build a new manufacturing and distribution operation in the town of Lysander, in Onondaga County, investing more than $50 million and creating approximately 120 new jobs.
The company considered several Northeast locations for their expansion, but announced today they chose New York State. New York State's flourishing yogurt industry was a key factor in Agrana's decision, offering the company a central location for production and distribution to leading yogurt companies in the State of New York as well as the Northeast and Canada.
Agrana's decision to build a new manufacturing plant in New York State completes a key goal identified at the Yogurt Summit convened in August 2012 by Governor Cuomo. At the Summit, yogurt industry representatives and farmers discussed how much of the fruit processing for yogurt products was done outside of New York -- although the rest of the process, from growing the fruit to making the yogurt, was done in the state. With Agrana locating to Onondaga County, the complete yogurt production process can now be done all within New York State.
"Agrana Fruit's decision to choose New York State and Onondaga County as the place to be to grow and expand their business further establishes Upstate New York as the Silicone Valley of Yogurt production," Governor Cuomo said. "This administration has focused on opening New York's doors to business and creating an environment where major companies such as Agrana can invest and expand. Today's announcement recognizes the capacity and skill of New York's workforce and the new business friendly mentality that is helping turn around our state's economy."
Bob Prendes, President & CEO of Agrana Fruit US, said, "This is an extremely exciting time for the North American dairy industry; its growth has been bolstered by the consumer's interest in better-for-you products. Our new facility in New York will allow us to support the incredible growth of our North American customers by providing the products necessary to meet the demands of the market. We are very excited to be setting up our fourth U.S. plant in Lysander, New York. We have received incredible support and assistance from both the State and Local Economic Development representatives and we look forward to continuing this collaborative spirit in the future."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Thank you Agrana for choosing Onondaga County and thank you Governor Cuomo for opening New York State for Business and helping us bring this worldwide manufacturer to Onondaga County. Agrana's plan to bring its operation to Lysander is excellent news and is a testament to our regions strong roots in manufacturing and agriculture. It's a great example of the good things that can happen when we all work together."
Dean Norton, President of the Farm Bureau, said, "New York Farm Bureau is pleased to see the continued growth in the food processing sector, which is so closely linked to the success of our family farmers. Attracting more jobs to New York is critical to revitalizing the upstate economy, and we are proud that it is in no small part due to the nexus between our dairy and fruit farmers and the consumer marketplace that this processing facility is locating in New York. Our growers look forward to partnering with Agrana to explore ways to supply the plant with locally produced fruit, and we thank Governor Cuomo for understanding the importance of a strong farm sector to the viability of the upstate economy."
AGRANA is the foremost sugar company in Central and Eastern Europe. It is the leading supplier of specialised starch products in Europe by a considerable margin, as well as being the largest producer of bioethanol in Austria and Hungary. In the field of fruit, AGRANA is the top global producer of fruit preparations for the dairy industry and the leading producer of fruit juice concentrates in Europe. For the full business year, AGRANA expects Group revenue of around $ 4.0 billion. AGRANA employs around 8,500 personnel at 56 sites in 26 countries around the world. AGRANA currently operates three North American production sites in Botkins, Ohio, Centerville, Tennessee and Fort Worth, Texas and has its Corporate Offices and NPD Center in Brecksville, Ohio. As the company looked to expand their market presence in North America to meet customer demand, they considered several Northeast locations.
The State provided Agrana with a $600,000 grant from Empire State Development and $2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits.
Over the past decade, New York State's yogurt industry has experienced rapid growth. Between 2005 and 2011, the State's yogurt plants doubled in production. This production increase has had a positive ripple effect on businesses throughout the State, increasing demand and boosting activity for dairy farms, equipment manufacturers and local communities. Between 2005 and 2011, for example, the amount of milk used to make yogurt in New York increased dramatically, from 158 million pounds to about 1.2 billion pounds.
As Greek yogurt has become wildly popular across America over the past years, New York State has become widely recognized as the yogurt capital. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the state has forged new partnerships with the industry, highlighted in August 2012 at New York's first Yogurt Summit where industry leaders, farmers, and other stakeholders came together to discuss ways to remove barriers and find new ideas to support the industry. After listening to the suggestions and concerns of industry leaders, the Governor announced new actions to help dairy farmers increase the size of their herds and therefore increase milk production. The Governor has also announced measures to help dairy farmers better manage the large amount of waste produced by cows and save money on energy costs by turning waste into a renewable source of energy.
Agrana is expected to break ground on their new 100,000-square-foot Lysander facility in April. Once operational, the facility will process all types of fruit for yogurt, including the possibility of New York-grown fruit.