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In December 2012, the New York-based Greek yogurt company began making yogurt at it’s new manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho.The company announced in 2011 plans to build it’s second U.S. manufacturing plant. Chobani chose Twin Falls. The company has said it plans to hire up to 500 people once the facility starts operating at full capacity.Hamdi Ulukaya founded the Chobani Greek Yogurt company in 2005. According to Chobani’s website, Ulukaya threw himself into the yogurt business after he saw an ad for a recently shuttered Kraft yogurt plant in his local newspaper. He purchased that facility.By 2007, Chobani Greek Yogurt could be found in New York grocery stores. By 2010, it became the number one selling Greek yogurt in the country.

Chobani And Twin Falls Have Tax Tiff

Emilie Ritter Saunders
StateImpact Idaho

Yogurt giant Chobani is at odds with Twin Falls over the assessed value of its facilities in the Magic Valley. While both sides describe the tiff as amicable, the dollar amounts involved are huge.

Initially, the Twin Falls County Assessor’s Office valued Chobani’s sprawling plant at about half a billion dollars. The yogurt titan appealed that hefty sum, and both the county office and the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals reduced the assessment down to $393 million.

That’s still leaps and bounds away from what Chobani estimates. The company says the world’s largest yogurt plant is worth $176 million and is hoping a court will back it up.

County Commissioner Don Hall tells the Times News the assessor’s office is working with the yogurt company as it evaluates and appraises the property.

Reached by phone, a representative with Chobani pointed to a written statement from the company which, in part says, “we concluded that we’re spending more on taxes than the fair cost, partly due to our approach to build a plant for the future which is not at full utilization.”

In other words, Chobani says its plant isn’t working at full capacity, but the company believes it’s being valued as if it was.

A trial date has been set for June of 2019, but Chobani and Twin Falls could reach a settlement before that.

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