You might think a nearly hundred-year-old company would be pretty different from the one started by its founders. While in some ways that’s true, at Land O’Lakes, Inc. we proudly hold tight to our co-op roots and the values instilled all those years ago.
Our company was formed by farmers, for farmers. These men and women worked hard, took care of the land and animals, looked after their neighbors, and recognized that we all do better when we work together. These are the values that keep us centered today. And, we think it’s these values that keep us focused on not only what we do, but why we do it. Our work, whether making the number one brand of butter, delivering state-of-the-art animal nutrition products and programs, or providing seeds and nutrients that touch over half the harvested acres in the U.S., is all in support of our common purpose: feeding human progress.
If you’ve read about our latest financial results, you know we – again – delivered record financial results for our member-owners—the farmers and agricultural retailers working hard to help feed the world. But, we also want you to know about our non-financial performance too.
In our backyards
In 2017, the Land O’Lakes Foundation, through the generosity of our member-owners, contributed $13.2 million to nonprofit organizations that support education, hunger relief programs and other initiatives in our –- mainly rural –- communities. This past year, the Foundation also celebrated 20 years of giving to programs large and small with projects ranging from our long-standing national partnership with Feeding America, to supporting member-owners in building Habitat for Humanity homes in Indiana, to contributing to disaster relief efforts.
In March 2017, wildfire decimated more than a million acres of crops, killed thousands of livestock and destroyed thousands of miles of fencing. Employees from Purina and other members of the ag and ranching community were inspired to do whatever they could to assist those who were affected.
Neighbors helping neighbors
Land O’Lakes International Development, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, leveraging the expertise, talent and technology of Land O’Lakes, implemented 17 agricultural development programs in 13 countries. This work –- which we consider an extension of our founders idea of ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ -- directly assisted over 430,000 people and trained over 250,000 in improved agricultural practices.
Judith Simon Muro lives in Tanzania and teaches women how to grow mushrooms. In a part of the world where women often don’t have access to land, growing mushrooms is a way to add income and lift their families out of poverty.
Our commitment to our earth
At our founding, our farmer-members believed in preserving natural resources. Today is no different. Our unique farm-to-fork view enables us to think holistically about how we produce the food we eat. We are committed to continuing to advance sustainable agricultural across our value chain. Protecting our land, water and air for today and for future generations is how we do business. Since its founding in 2016, the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN™ business has trained over 700 ag retail leaders in sustainable on-farm practices, products and technologies. On the dairy side, 42 percent of our milk supply has been assessed for environmental impact, and 1,780 metric tons of CO2 equivalent reductions have been delivered.
Alliance Ag and Grain is one of more than 800 Land O’Lakes, Inc. co-op members and supports 1,600 growers across the Kansas countryside. The co-op sold Land O’Lakes products for years, but agronomy manager Willie Schmidt has now been trained by Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN to help his customers produce more with less.
Proud of our work
Yes, we celebrate when we’re able to deliver record financial returns to our members. At the same time, we never lose sight of the why in our work. The legacy we want to leave and the difference we want to make. We are here for the long haul. And, that means behaving that way.