Land O’Lakes Inc. announced new on-farm sustainability commitments to be adopted by its more than 1,600 member-dairy farms by 2025. Within the next four years, all Land O’Lakes’ dairy farmer-owners will complete an intensive, industry-leading on-farm sustainability assessment aligned with the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment while maintaining universal compliance with the National Milk Producers Federation’s National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program.

Land O’Lakes said the announcement is the next step in its enterprise-wide approach to on-farm sustainability.

“As a champion of sustainability practices, Land O’Lakes Inc. is proud to partner with our member-owners and customers to build a system of measurement and improvement,” said Tim Leviny, senior vice president of global dairy ingredients for Arden Hills, Minn.-based Land O’Lakes. “This new commitment will help us measure our member-owners’ on-farm sustainability footprint to meet our customers’ sustainability goals. This is just the next step in our company’s longstanding focus on quality, transparency and accountability across our supply chain.”

In early 2021, Land O’Lakes launched a large-scale measurement project that will yield more than 250 data points per farm across more than 1,600 farms located all over the United States. This effort collects on-farm sustainability data from the largest number of farms from any single supplier in the U.S. dairy industry. The assessment measures actionable information on fuel, electricity and water usage, nutrient application, crop rotation and manure management, the company said.

To support this effort, Land O’Lakes said it created a new Dairy 2025 Commitment Team dedicated solely to collecting on farm data and helping to develop measurable ways for its farmer-members to improve on-farm efficiency and further reduce their environmental footprint.

“Farmers are the original conservationists, so this initiative is us putting a stake in the ground around on-farm sustainability measurement, and more proactively telling our story to our valued customers and consumers,” said Pete Kappelman, Land O’Lakes’ senior vice president of member and government relations. “Our commitment is focused on measurement and continuous improvement, which we believe can help achieve specific reduction goals and lead to lasting change.”

Land O’Lakes said many of its dairy farmer-owners are already participating in significant sustainability initiatives, but this assessment is intended to provide a cooperative-wide understanding of members’ collective impact and set baselines for future goals. Examples of projects farmers are carrying out with Land O’Lakes’ current customers, which are driving immediate results, include:

  • Land O’Lakes and Bel Brands initiated a project to increase the use of cover crops and other sustainable agricultural practices among the Land O’Lakes member-owners who ship milk to Bel Brands’ facilities.
  • Land O’Lakes is working with The Hershey Company and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to implement best management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and other watersheds in the region.

Land O'Lakes said the Dairy 2025 Commitment is an opportunity for it to further demonstrate its leadership in sustainability alongside the groundbreaking work of its wholly owned Truterra business and the development of the Truterra insights engine and the TruCarbon program.