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Land O'Lakes, Inc. turning on the Wi-Fi in rural communities

Land O’Lakes and its cooperative network are helping bridge the telehealth and educational digital divide during COVID-19; calling on state and federal policymakers to help with long-term solutions

Land O'Lakes, Inc. turning on the Wi-Fi in rural communities

https://www.landolakesinc.com/Press/News/rural-wifi-and-broadband-internet-access

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (updated May 21, 2020) – Land O’Lakes, Inc. recently announced an effort to tackle the lack of rural broadband access, an issue dramatically exacerbated by the coronavirus and for many, the unparalleled and sudden shift to conducting virtually all daily tasks online.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. and many of its rurally located retail-owners are offering free and open Wi-Fi access to local citizens outside more than 170 of their company locations, manufacturing facilities, along with other satellite businesses in 14 states across America’s heartland.

“As millions of Americans shift to work and school from home and increasingly look to telehealth for critical healthcare services, the urgent need for internet connectivity in rural America has never been so dire,” said Beth Ford, president & CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Today, we are proud to take the step along with many partners to bridge the gap and provide this critical service to these communities during this crisis. But our efforts now are only a short-term solution for a much bigger problem that people in our rural communities face, even when we are not experiencing a viral pandemic. As a member-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes believes that we are all stronger together, and we are incredibly appreciative of the generosity of our retail-owners during this trying time.”

With deep roots across rural America, Land O’Lakes has worked to raise awareness and advocate for significant broadband infrastructure investment in rural areas at both the state and federal level as part of its initiative, the American Connection Project. As Land O’Lakes and its partners continue these advocacy efforts in the future, investment will help ensure the vitality of rural America beyond the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

This service is being offered as part of a trial that is anticipated to last approximately six weeks, but may be suspended or continued as circumstances change. As part of this effort, Microsoft will work with local broadband providers to devise more ways to amplify Wi-Fi signals in these local communities, including providing hardware to participating facilities and broadband providers. Land O’Lakes is also issuing a call to action to other companies with footprints in rural America who can also help provide these free Wi-Fi hotspots at their own facilities.

Ford continued, “If there were a time to band together with and for our rural neighbors -- many of whom are critical to feeding our nation -- now is that time. I encourage businesses with footprints in rural communities to join us in this small action to connect our rural communities; and I strongly urge state and federal policy makers to join us in fixing the problem by closing the digital divide in rural America.”

On April 15, Land O’Lakes and a coalition of other partners sent a letter to all 50 state governors, asking for their support of the initiative and inviting them to leverage their own resources to add additional Wi-Fi hotspot locations around their states. In addition, they asked states to support policies that would increase access to telemedicine and urged their support of robust state and federal infrastructure investments that solve rural internet connectivity challenges.

Land O'Lakes is offering free Wi-Fi access at the following locations (this list will update as new locations are confirmed):

Arkansas


Jonesboro, AR
2532 Alexander Dr
Joneseboro, AR 72401
 

Illinois


Mt. Vernon, IL 
2400 Fountain Place
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Iowa


Washington, IA
980 West 5th Street
Washington, IA 52353

Spencer IA
3600 W Milwaukee Street
Spencer, IA 51301

Sioux City, IA 
4600 Stone Avenue
Sioux City, IA 51106

Story City, IA
1701 Broad Street
Story City, IA 50248

Ames, IA
224 S Bell Avenue
Ames, IA 50010

Vincent, IA
500 North First Street
Vincent, IA 50594
 

Indiana


Evansville, IN 
2124 Lynch Road
Evansville, IN 47711

Frankfort, IN
2472 W State Road 28
Frankfort, IN 46041

Kansas


Park City KS 
311 E Briar Rose Lane
Park City, KS  67147

Minnesota


Winthrop MN 
701 E 4th Street
Winthrop, MN 55396

Melrose, MN
1000 Kraft Drive SE
Melrose, MN 56352

Pine Island, MN
206 2nd Street NE
Pine Island, MN 55963
 

Missouri


Montgomery City, MO 
950 N Walker Street
Montgomery City, MO 63361

St. Joseph, MO 
4301 S Leonard Road
Saint Joseph, MO 64503

Neosho, MO 
3200 East 2nd Street
Neosho, MO 64850

Nebraska


Lincoln, NE 
5500 N Cotner Blvd
Lincoln, NE 68507

Ogallala, NE 
312 West O Street
Ogallala, NE 69153

North Dakota


Gardner, ND
380 County Road 81 N
Gardner, ND 58036

Ohio


Dayton, OH 
2700 Concorde Drive
Dayton (Vandalia), OH 45377

South Dakota


Pierre, SD 
20566 Grace Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Oregon


Hubbard, OR
2805 Industrial Ave
Hubbard, OR 97032

Texas


Gonzales, TX
1402 E Sarah DeWitt Dr
Gonzales, TX 78629

Lubbock, TX
4302 Locust Ave
Lubbock, TX 79404

Wisconsin


Mt. Horeb, WI 
510 W Garfield Street
Mount Horeb, WI 53572

Hillsboro, WI 
186 E Madison Street
Hillsboro, WI 54634

Chippewa Falls, WI 
4185 124th Street
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

Members of the communities served can access the Wi-Fi from their cars; hours will vary by location. Each facility has designated a portion of its lot for Wi-Fi users, which will allow for proper social distancing practices. To maintain social distancing, guests are asked to stay in their own cars while using this service.

Media Contact: Abigail Shilling: 651-242-1503; AJShilling@landolakes.com


About Land O'Lakes, Inc.  
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2019 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 212 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 99 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands and businesses in agriculture and food production including Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Truterra, LLC. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.



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