University-Industry Engagement Week

Yogurt maker Chobani gifts $1M to U Idaho dairy research center

By David Schwartz
Published: May 17th, 2022

Well-known yogurt maker Chobani is making a $1 million gift to the University of Idaho-led Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Idaho CAFE) to help fund construction of the nation’s largest research dairy. Their goal is to fund scientific research to ensure a sustainable future for the U.S. dairy industry.

The company has deep roots in the region as well as in the push for sustainability in the dairy industry. “Sustainability is part of the fabric of Chobani. Caring for our people and animals, conserving resources, putting back what we take — this is how we operate, and this is how dairy farmers operate,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani’s founder and CEO. “As more and more people — consumers, investors and regulators — focus on sustainability, the dairy industry must be part of the conversation…. This is why the University of Idaho’s leadership to establish this comprehensive and groundbreaking CAFE project is so important, and why we are so proud to support it.”

Idaho CAFE spans three counties with a 2,000-cow research dairy and 640-acre demonstration farm in Rupert, a public outreach and education center in Jerome, and collaborative food science research efforts in partnership with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.

“The Idaho CAFE project has been conceptualized for years but the need for this integrated research center is growing by the day,” said Michael P. Parrella, dean for the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “The dairy industry nationwide has set aggressive goals to become carbon neutral and maximize water quality and quantity among other environmental sustainability goals in the very near future. Chobani’s investment in the Idaho CAFE research dairy highlights their partnership in this mission and pushes us closer to the finish line.”

Idaho CAFE will conduct research and deliver education to support sustainable dairies, livestock operations, crop production and food processing industries. The center will link research, education and outreach in a public-private partnership to support the state of Idaho, generate jobs and support economic progress.

“The Idaho CAFE project embraces the innovation happening across our agricultural sector,” said Idaho Gov. Brad Little. “Chobani’s latest commitment to Idaho CAFE is an investment in Idaho’s economy and, importantly, Idaho’s current and future workforce. A strong dairy industry supports jobs and our Idaho way of life. We are grateful to the leadership and employees at Chobani for their continued pledge to excellence, which helps us in reaching our goal to make Idaho the place where our children and grandchildren choose to stay.”

The research dairy will be operated like a commercial farm and will host a variety of ongoing research experiments managed by U of I faculty and staff. The dairy is designed to represent an average dairy in southern Idaho, so the research conducted at the site will be immediately applicable to dairy farms in Idaho and throughout the region.

U of I will begin construction on the research dairy’s first phase in June. The project’s total cost is estimated at $22.5 million.

Source: University of Idaho News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week