Byrne Dairy, a family-owned manufacturer and distributor of milk, dairy, and ice cream products, announced today that it has entered into an option agreement with the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency as a first step in its proposed development of a yogurt plant and agritourism center at Finger Lakes East Business Park in New York town of Cortlandville.

The option gives Byrne Dairy the right to purchase the 127-acre park if it receives site plan approval, can secure local incentives, and is granted New York State funding assistance. All such contingencies must be met for the project to move forward. If it receives approval, construction of the new plant would begin in mid-2013.

The manufacturing facility would be Byrne Dairy’s fourth in Central New York. It currently operates a fluid milk plant and an ice cream plant in Syracuse as well as its Ultra Dairy plant located in East Syracuse. The company processes dairy products under the Byrne name and co-packs for other brands.

According to the 2012 Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' annual ranking of North America's largest dairy processors, Byrne sells milk, flavored milk, extended shelf life milk and cream, eggnog, ice cream, butter, yogurt, sour cream, dairy-based dips, juices, iced tea and lemonade. It reported revenues of $277 million in 2011, ranking the company 59th on the Dairy 100. Byrne Dairy owns and operates 54 convenience stores throughout Central New York.

Other companies processing yogurt in New York state include Alpina, Chobani, Emmi Roth, Fage and Muller Quaker Dairy.