Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady) joins Empire State Development Chairman Charles A. Gargano in announcing that FAGE Dairy Industry S.A., a leading dairy company based in Athens, Greece, has selected the Johnstown Industrial Park as the site to invest $27 million for the construction of a new facility – its first in North America -- to produce and distribute FAGE yogurt products. The company plans to create up to 60 new jobs.
Gargano said, "Bringing the FAGE Dairy production facility to the Mohawk Valley and Johnstown is great news for the local economy. FAGE could have taken its first North American operation anywhere, but chose New York State. This is a solid commitment and investment in our people and our communities."
"Every day we work to leverage New York’s resources to attract private sector investment and help companies like FAGE Dairy grow and prosper," continued Gargano. "This is strong evidence of the positive business climate New York has created under Governor Pataki’s leadership."
The plans for the production facility, which is located in an Empire Zone, are contingent on agreements being finalized with state and local government agencies. Construction is expected to begin in late spring. The facility will be constructed and operated by FAGE USA Dairy Industry Inc., a newly formed U.S. subsidiary of FAGE.
Senator Farley said, "This wonderful announcement builds on our local strengths as a center of agriculture, as well as a center of industry and distribution. FAGE, the inventor of 'Greek yogurt,' is a major player in the global food processing industry. I commend Jeff Bray and the local economic development team who brought them to Johnstown, and thank Governor Pataki and Chairman Gargano, whose forward-thinking economic development policies make creating jobs in upstate New York an attractive proposition for multi-national employers."
Assemblyman Marc Butler said, "Once again, this strong, cooperative effort among local, county and state officials has had a tremendous result for Fulton County and the City of Johnstown. I especially commend Jeff Bray and his team for their continuing efforts in revitalizing the local economy, and I look forward to working with local officials as this project moves forward."
Johnstown Mayor Robert Schultz said, "The historic City of Johnstown is pleased to welcome FAGE to our industrial park and our community. We are also most appreciative of the work the Fulton County EDC has done to make this possible, and we will continue to work toward the success of this project."
"The construction of the new FAGE Dairy Production Facility is an extremely important project for Johnstown, one that will significantly impact the local economy and serves as a shining example of Governor Pataki's commitment to implementing sound fiscal policies in the Empire state," Glen King, Director of the Governor's Office for Small Cities, said. "The GOSC is a proud partner in this project, which will offer more opportunities for local residents and will make New York an even better place to live, work and raise a family."
Pasquale O’Lucci, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, said, "Fulton County is pleased to welcome FAGE Dairy and the positive economic boost it will provide for our community. The County Economic Development Corp. and the State worked together to bring this production facility to the Johnstown Industrial Park."
Johnstown City Supervisor John Callery, who also serves as chairman of the Board of Supervisors Economic Development Committee, said, "A company that has never been in this country before is establishing its first North American operation in New York State and in Johnstown. The Fulton County Economic Development Corp. has worked hard to market our area and is reaping positive results for the community. "I also am pleased with Governor Pataki’s strong support and his economic development team."
"The Fulton County Economic Development Corporation is pleased to partner with Empire State Development Corporation on a project that will have far reaching economic benefits for Johnstown, Fulton County, and the Mohawk Valley," said EDC Executive Vice President, Jeff Bray. "FAGE has an outstanding reputation throughout the world. We are honored that they have chosen Fulton County for their first U.S. production plant and we are proud to welcome them to our community. The magnitude of their investments will create a very positive impact on both the agriculture and manufacturing sectors of New York State and the job creation and stability will help our region of the State."
State Agriculture Commissioner Nathan L. Rudgers said, "New York is the third largest milk producing state in the nation and we are committed to maintaining a strong dairy processing industry. We are pleased FAGE has recognized that commitment and located its first U.S. plant here in New York State. This is a big win for our farmers, the residents of Fulton County and for consumers all over New York State who will now have the opportunity to taste for themselves FAGE’s unique product."
In consideration of its job commitment and investment in New York State, FAGE is eligible to apply for a $300,000 Empire State Development capital grant, a $375,000 grant from the Governor’s Office for Small Cities and energy efficiency assistance from NYSERDA. The company is also eligible to receive Empire Zone benefits.
New York’s dairy industry is a critical component to the upstate economy and way of life, providing thousands of jobs and a significant economic stimulus. In fact, every dollar spent by dairy farmers is turned over 2.5 times in their local community, generating $3.3 billion in additional economic revenue for New York. In dairy processing, every new job created brings an additional 4.72 jobs into the community.
New York State is the third largest dairy producing state in the Nation with $1.56 billion in receipts last year. Dairy is the State’s leading agricultural commodity, contributing more than half of the State’s agricultural receipts. Currently, New York State has 7,100 dairy farms with more than 671,000 cows producing nearly 12 billion pounds of milk per year. New York is the leading producer of cottage cheese in the nation and third for all Italian cheeses.