As a member-owner of Land O’Lakes, Inc., it’s now easier than ever to learn more about the cooperative model and develop the leadership skills needed to support your business and industry. For years, Land O’Lakes has offered a course known as Co-op 101 at our Annual Meeting in Minneapolis each winter for member-owners interested in getting involved in leadership. However, we understand that taking a couple of days off to travel to Minneapolis (especially in February) just isn’t possible for everyone amid your busy schedules.
That’s why Land O’Lakes is offering a new program focused on leadership developed called Cornerstone for Engagement where events will be smaller, shorter, more frequent and available closer to home.
The new Cornerstone for Engagement programs will be offered at different points throughout the year in our various governance regions. So far, we’ve held two of these regional events and the approach seems to be working.
“We’re creating a new element that hasn’t been there before–convenience,” says Paul Hansen, leader development manager, Member Relations. “We are going out, engaging members and giving them the skills they need in a format that allows them to be back to their business by sunset.”
The first Cornerstone for Engagement regional event was held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for REGION 51, 52 and 53 dairy members. Jared Kurtz, dairy member-owner, participated in the final Co-op 101 held at Annual Meeting in 2017 and hosted this first-ever regional event. He says it was beneficial for fellow producers to meet each other, work on professional development and learn about opportunities for involvement within the industry.
“It was great to build a network across the country when I was in Minneapolis, but it was also nice to meet other producers in your backyard and get a better sense of what is going on at Land O’Lakes,” says Jared. “Sometimes you get caught up in the bubble of your own farm and don’t see the bigger picture of what Land O’Lakes does or the other benefits of being a member.”
What to expect
Regional Cornerstone of Engagement events kick off with a basic co-op 101 – how Land O’Lakes does business and how members play a role in the model. Our Member Relations team then gives an in-depth presentation of the various businesses Land O’Lakes oversees and the other product and service offerings available to members such as health insurance, purchasing programs and countless others. Later in the day, local industry partners discuss ways members can get more involved in the industry. Members also have an opportunity to define and strategize personal and professional development goals meant to support business, cooperative and industry.
“Hopefully this local experience draws more involvement from members,” says Jared. “It helps to see the history and know what Land O’Lakes is doing to provide the best service and support possible.”
Cornerstone for Engagement events are being scheduled for the rest of this year with current plans for region four and region 80 in California. Member-owners who are interested in hosting an event in their own region are encouraged to contact Paul Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep an eye out for an email invitation to these events.