USDA has awarded New York yogurt makers Chobani and Upstate Niagara Cooperative with contracts to provide yogurt to public schools across several states through the USDA’s School Lunch Program Pilot.

Following news in January that schools that participated in an initial 3-month Greek yogurt pilot had consumed 200,000 lbs. of Greek yogurt, valued at $300,000, USDA decided to expand the program to 12 states –  New York, Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Mississippi.

Beginning in August, Chobani will provide Greek yogurt in seven states: New York, Arizona, Idaho, California, Iowa, Illinois and Mississippi. Upstate Niagara Cooperative will also be supplying schools in Arizona.

USDA will be considering bids to provide Greek yogurt for the rest of the school year. The entire pilot program will run through the end of the school year in June 2015.

“I am proud to announce that New York-made Greek yogurt will make its way to school lunchrooms across the country starting in August,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). “This is a major win for New York State and the entire New York dairy industry, and is proof positive that Greek yogurt is a true economic engine for the state. I commend USDA for selecting Chobani and Upstate Niagara, and look forward to the rave reviews I know we will get from students around the country who will now be able to enjoy these great Upstate New York products. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Hanna to bring Greek yogurt across the country.”

“This is great news. Greek yogurt like Chobani and Upstate Niagara is packed with healthy protein that our schoolchildren deserve access to in their school lunches,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “New York State is home to a strong and growing Greek yogurt industry. And when we connect Chobani to lunchrooms across the state and across the country, we can give our children better access to healthy, nutritious food, while strengthening New York’s own dairy industry.”

“It’s excellent that more students throughout the country will be able to enjoy Greek yogurt as part of their school meals,” said Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.). “Upstate New York’s own Chobani is leading this program and providing a nutritious and healthy option for our children. This is another tremendous opportunity for Chobani, for our state’s growing Greek yogurt industry, and for the hardworking Upstate dairy farmers who support it.”