In August, we introduced our new Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN business intended to leverage the cooperative’s size and scale, and its farm-to-fork scope, to proactively meet changing consumer and customer demands around sustainability. Since then, the business has received quite a bit of interest from members and employees alike curious about its development and any ongoing activities.
At our recent Dairy member meetings, we shared a video from Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN, where he provided a quick overview of the new business. As Matt and the rest of the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN team continue to define and evolve their offering, many activities are already underway. Below you’ll find a high level summary of a few activities specifically aimed at delivering value to you, our member-owners.
Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN is focused on bringing value to members and key customers through projects, services, partnerships and products that help meet various sustainability goals. From precision ag techniques to on-farm evaluations and governmental partnerships, almost everything is on the table at this point. We will keep you informed as specific offerings are developed, but here’s a quick summary of the ongoing initiatives:
West: The team is working closely with Land O’Lakes Government Relations to identify workable solutions that meet the state’s greenhouse gas and water regulations. Leveraging our enterprise expertise, they are researching seaweed as a feed additive to reduce methane and looking at drip irrigation technology for alfalfa, while also investigating viable digester technology and business models.
Upper Midwest: In response to specific member feedback, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN has formed a partnership with Revolution Plastics to create an efficient process for recycling ag silage plastics. They are also working with Government Relations to influence Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recent announcement around digesters. The Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN team hopes to propose additional options beyond just digester technology as a means of protecting the state’s waterways.
East: Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN continues to identify potential partnerships in all sectors to help bring solutions, technical support and financial resources to meet water quality challenges in the Chesapeake Bay. A great example of this is a recent partnership between a Maryland dairy member-owner and the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC). Together they implemented the first woodchip bioreactor in Maryland—improving both water quality and trust in the Chesapeake Bay community.
Telling our story
While developing products and programs is critical, it’s just as important to serve as the voice of our members and cooperative system. Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN is proactively educating and telling our sustainability story to key stakeholders including government officials, regulatory agencies, customers and consumers.
With customers, it’s all about building credibility and creating alignment around industry standard programs in areas such as animal care and on-farm sustainability. Looking specifically at consumers, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN is conducting market research to help target our messaging through the most effective channels to ensure we are reaching our key audiences with our sustainability story.
In the world of legislative advocacy, it’s important we have a seat at the table, so Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN is working with federal and state government officials to influence developing regulation and advocate workable solutions. To do this, the team is building out a strategy to meet with newly elected government leadership at the federal and state level to proactively educate them on our issues.
Thank you again for your engagement and interest in this exciting new business. There will be much more information to come so keep an eye out for updates in future communications. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your local Land O’Lakes representative, Molly Toot (Ag) at or Tai Ullmann at (Dairy).