“The Yogurt Bill,” was featured on “The Daily Show” with John Stewart in an extended segment that showed the sponsor of the bill defending it against cheesecake, raisins and other products. The bill was sponsored by Erie County Republican Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer despite the Democrats, now humorous, grilling of Ranzenhofer.
Popularity of Greek Yogurt in New York
While Ranzenhofer’s defense was comic, Yogurt is a substantial industry in New York and the state produces the most yogurt in the nation at almost 16%. Production reached 741 million pounds last year largely owing to the Greek Yogurt makers Chobani and Fage who have plants in upstate New York.
“This designation is a fitting recognition of the importance of this state’s yogurt industry, which has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, making New York the top yogurt producer in the nation,” Cuomo said. “We will continue to work with New York producers and dairy farmers to build upon this progress and further strengthen this critically important industry.”
Specifically, it is an industry that employs roughly 9,500 people whose total wages reached over a half billion dollars in 2013.
“The Yogurt Summits”
Cuomo has a definite fondness for yogurt and he held the first “Yogurt Summit” in August of 2012 to explore ways the state could aid manufacturers. Today, he held the second “Yogurt Summit,” which ended with the bill becoming a law to the chagrin of potato chips, pretzels and other snack foods.
The first “Yogurt Summit” was a result of the growing market for Greek yogurt and the fact that New York supplanted California as the largest manufacturer of yogurt the same year that Cuomo took office, 2012.
Assemblyman William Magee (D-Madison County) boldly reached across the aisle to co-sponsor the bipartisan legislation in a move that the U.S. Congress should really try to emulate.