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CU Expertise Attracts Colombian Dairy Company to Upstate

Cornell’ s dairy expertise has helped convince a Colombian dairy company to locate its first North American plant in western New York.

The new Alpina yogurt manufacturing facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia is expected to lead to more than $15 million in investment and at least 50 jobs. It was hailed by New York’s governor as validation of the strength of New York’s $9 billion dairy industry, which is the largest segment of the state’s agricultural sector.

Established in 1945, Alpina runs nine industrial facilities across Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, and has a commercial presence in more than 12 countries.

One of the major factors for choosing the Batavia site “was the research and development capabilities and the experience in agriculture production that Cornell University has demonstrated,” says Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Alpina will have access to Cornell’s pilot plant on the Ithaca campus and the Food Venture Center in Geneva to ensure its products are ready for large-scale production. Cornell dairy experts will provide training to Alpina staff and guidance in interpreting and following U.S. food processing and safety regulations.

“Our faculty, staff, and students have considerable depth in milk production and dairy processing expertise and aim to build lasting partnerships with this innovative company,” says Dean Kathryn Boor ’80.

Adds Cornell dairy plant manager Jason Huck, “Our dairy extension team is already immersed in the western New York dairy processing community, so this new collaboration will be a natural extension of our current efforts.”