TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Chobani has announced a $1 million donation to the University of Idaho-led Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Idaho CAFE), to help construct the nation's largest research dairy. The dairy is a part of a push to advance scientific research and future sustainability in the dairy industry.
“As more and more people – consumers, investors and regulators — focus on sustainability, the dairy industry must be part of the conversation. The dairy industry has a deep history of commitment to and leadership in sustainability, which must be honored. 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, ” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani Founder and CEO.
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 efforts developed in partnership with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.
In a press release, Chobani says 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. It's designed to represent and average Idaho dairy, so the research can be immediately applicable to dairy farms in Idaho. The center will link research, education and outreach in a public-private partnership to support the state and generate jobs.
“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," said Idaho Gov. Brad Little.
The University of Idaho will break ground in June on the first construction phase, that's expected to be completed in 2023. When finished, the University of Idaho will begin milking cows at the Rupert location.
“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 that is having this center operational and contributing to the cutting-edge research that develop environmental solutions for the dairy industry now and into the future.”