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The Chobani Effect And The Agricultural Security Bill

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) On Friday, the CEO of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya urged Governor Otter to reconsider the Agricultural Security bill.

As a response, Twin Falls Senator Jim Patrick who sponsored the legislation wrote "we need to boycott Greek yogurt" on Melissa Davlin of Idaho Report's Facebook page.

We must warn you the video we show later in the interview is graphic in nature (video courtesy of Mercy for Animals).

Sen Patrick says, "the comments he made were totally inappropriate and I was answering the comment that if he feels that way, maybe we should boycott Greek yogurt which was just an inappropriate, but I said it with tongue and cheek. I will be meeting with the company next week and we're going to discuss their comments, what they're trying to do is protect their company, but they don't care about our valley, or our people, our values and he was out of line in what he said, and none of it was true. They just believe the videos, which if you look at the whole video, even the last one played, it was obviously a set up. He could have worded this much better and not been so harsh on the dairymen who were persecuted, life threatened as a result of this and they weren't worried about the abusers, just the men who own the dairy and that's wrong."

We reached out to Chobani for comment, but have yet to hear back.

Bob Naerebout of the Idaho Dairymen's Association chose not to respond to Sen. Patrick's comment, but did react to Chobani's statement.

"I think Chobani really didn't understand the bill and based on what they came up with, it did tarnish their image with dairy producers of Idaho. It made of agriculture who strongly supported this bill, feel that Chobani turned their back on them," explains Naerebout.

Meanwhile, the City of Twin Falls is not taking a role in discussions over the Agricultural Security bill, instead focusing on issues that are important within the City of Twin Falls. That includes Chobani's economic success.

City Manager Travis Rothweiler explains, "it's obviously very important that Chobani be successful and it's important that Chobani has access to the markets and the the ability to create those jobs that are driving our local economy. We hope that Chobani's success is not harmed or hampered by anything that occurs at either the state level or even the city level. That we don't do anything at our level that would cause them to lose any portion of their market share."

Rothweiler adds, when Chobani first committed, they say they would create 400 jobs, but at this point they've exceeded over 600.

It's estimated there are 6.7 jobs for every one job created at Chobani.


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