Sunday, December 09, 2018
 A Look Inside Land O'Lakes' Sustainability Efforts  

Biologist Rebecca Kenow spent two decades managing public sector environmental programs in Minnesota and then at a petroleum refinery before becoming the first full-time director of sustainability for agricultural cooperative Land O’ Lakes several years ago.


While Land O’Lakes butter and milk may be the most familiar products for many readers, its businesses also include Purina, which feeds more than 100 million animals annually, and WinField, a crop protection, seed marketing and agronomics company.

Under Kenow’s stewardship, the $15 billion organization has made strides in animal husbandry and in encouraging individual farmer members to embrace sustainable business practices within their own organizations. It helps individual farms measure their footprint with a tool called Farm Smart, which Land O'Lakes created in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s Sustainability Council.

In May, member-owned Dorrich Dairy (PDF) in Minnesota received the national sustainability award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Among other things, the operation — which has been in the Void family since 1899 — uses wasp larvae to control fly infestations in its pastures, drastically decreasing its use of insecticide. The owners also have invested in precision agriculture technology, which guides its use of fertilizers and other soil nutrients.

“The first time I heard the word sustainability was when I was 13, and my family was asked to do a presentation at Land O’Lakes on sustainability on our farm,” recalled teenager Anna Void, who accepted the award on behalf of her family. She struggled a while with the definition. “My mother told me sustainability meant taking the initiative to make something better for future generations. My dad responded with something along the lines of anaerobic digesters, power, and then added, ‘Yeah, what your mother said.’”

Click here to read the complete article as Kenow participates in a question and answer session with GreenBiz and shares her leadership priorities. 


Source: GreenBiz


Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015 (Archive on Thursday, August 27, 2015)
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