Land O'Lakes members are feeding communities

How our cooperative’s members are rising to the challenge to feed its rural communities in multiple ways during COVID-19

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As a farmer-owned cooperative, our community spreads across the U.S. - from small towns to big cities -and everything in between. The Direct Member Match and the Ag Retailer Match programs have long been a hallmark of the Land O’Lakes Foundation and its investment back into the communities where our Members live and work by matching donations dollar-for-dollar.
We’re highlighting the great work of Member-Owners – what they’re doing in their rural communities to help people adapt and overcome challenges related to COVID-19. Because when our members are not working to provide food, fuel and fiber to the world, they are community citizens helping their neighbors in need.
Rural areas were already food insecure before this crisis. Now, those issues that have long existed are only continuing to worsen. Rural communities comprise 78% of counties with the highest rates of overall food insecurity. Feeding America recently released a report that showed that the number of food insecure people due to COVID-19 across the U.S. could increase 5.2% -or by 17 million- in 2020.
Which is why, more than ever, we are proud of what members are doing to help those in need. We’ll be updating this list throughout the following weeks, so if you and/or your ag retailer have utilized the member-driven Foundation giving programs in your community and want to tell us your story, please send it here.  

Caring for our neighbors

To-date, 31 co-ops, three Independent Retailers, and seven dairies across 12 states have supported their communities with COVID-19 relief efforts (hunger relief, PPE supplies, rural broadband, childcare, distance learning technology, and basic needs) through our member-driven Foundation giving programs, totaling $154,208.
From supporting fire departments to school food programs to food shelves and libraries, listed below are a few of the ways we’re proud to say our members are supporting their communities:

  • Central Valley Ag (York, NE): donated funding to 13 area schools to help with their food programs (breakfast/lunch and backpack programs) during closures. 

  • Farmers Cooperative (Dorchester, NE): donated to the Warren Memorial Hospital Foundation Inc. in Friend, NE to provide tele-health Care and improve emergency treatment to their rural communities.

  • Landus Cooperative (Ames, IA): donated to support the Iowa Food Bank Association and the “Pass the Pork” program, which connects farmers to help food insecure Iowans and families in need.

  • Harvest Land Cooperative (Richmond, IN): donated to help fund a week of school lunches for over 400  students in need in their community.

  • Midway Cooperative Association, Inc. (Osborne, KS): donated to the City of Osborne so the Osborne Public Library could purchase data and mobile hot spots for community members to use due to COVID-19 and stay at home orders.

  • New Vision Cooperative (Brewster, MN): donated to five hunger relief organizations across rural Minnesota to provide food to those in need.

  • Stillwater Milling Co. (Stillwater, OK): donated to Kickin’ Childhood Hunger Inc. to help meet the demand of children in need of food due to schools being closed.

  • Synergy Cooperative (Ridgeland, WI): donated to the Village of Ridgeland to buy several tons of cheese from 2 other Land O’Lakes Coop Members, Burnett Dairy and Ellsworth Creamery, who are helping coordinate the donation of the cheese to various food pantries and schools.

  • WESTCO (Alliance, NE): donated to local food pantries to help them continue to serve community members and meet demand.

  • Farmers Cooperative Society (Sioux Center, IA) donated to the City of Sioux Center through a partnership with other ag organizations to provide a community-wide food distribution program when Covid-19 started

  • Kaup Seed & Fertilizer, Inc. (West Point, NE) donated to the Archbishop Bergan Catholic High School Of Fremont to purchase additional Chromebooks for increased distance learning opportunities for students due to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Member-owners David Pyle and Katie Dotterer-Pyle of Cow Comfort Inn Dairy (Union Ridge, MD) initiated a Mid-Atlantic Program grant for New Windsor Volunteer Fire Company by coordinating with Maryland & Virginia Dairy Producers to distribute 2,160 gallons of milk to local residents and local food pantries and food banks  

  • Member-owners Randy Lingen and Family (Balaton, MN) donated to United Community Action Partnership Inc for the benefit of the Kitchen Table for hunger relief efforts in their community given the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Member-owner Gary Breitlow of Breitview Dairy Farm (Algoma, WI) donated to Algoma School District to provide dairy products through hunger-relief programs for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Land O’Lakes Foundation and Community Relations team has been responding to COVID-19 across our national footprint. We are working hard to maximize the impact of our resources now and over the next year as we know that we will see great need in the months ahead, especially in our rural communities.
If you want to learn more about how Land O’Lakes as a cooperative is helping communities with in-kind donations, setting off a campaign to bolster rural broadband and more, click here

Want to participate?

Through the Land O’Lakes Foundation’s Member Match programs, there are matching funds available to you for eligible donations in your own communities.  These extra funds support the good work you’re already doing.
Members can apply for these programs directly through our online website. To learn more visit the Community Involvement page for more information and links to applications.