Land O'Lakes Inc., in a partnership with Bel Brands USA, is expanding its three-year pilot program in 2022 to five additional farms ranging in size from 450 to 2,000 cows. The program's goal is to support the adoption of sustainable farming and animal feed production methods to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on one of its supplying dairy farms. 

“Our partnership with Land O’Lakes and dairy farmers exemplifies our unwavering commitment to sustainability. We want to be the best possible partners to dairy farmers in their efforts to make the dairy industry more sustainable and conserve the planet’s resources across all areas of supply chain and all brands in the Bel Brands portfolio, including family favorites such as Babybel, The Laughing Cow and Boursin,” said Brian Zook, director of Milk Sourcing and Sustainability at Bel Brands U.S.A. “We are honored to receive the Outstanding Supply Chain Sustainability Award from U.S. Dairy for this program. Such a prestigious award from a leading industry organization is further proof that this program is the future of sustainable changes in the dairy farming industry.”’ 

Land O’Lakes dairy farmer-owner and Bel Brands milk supplier Boadwine Dairy in South Dakota was the pilot location for the first year of this program. Fourth-generation farmer Lynn Boadwine has been working to improve sustainable farming practices for over a decade. “The more I learn about soil health, the more I see that I need to learn. But not every farmer is in a position to invest in testing and learning, so support from partners like Land O’Lakes and Bel Brands further up the supply chain is critical,” said Boadwine.

This collaboration is intended to ensure a program that is accessible and scalable for farms of all sizes with traceability and data measurement through the Truterra sustainability tool.

The Truterra sustainability tool is a conservation data platform to benchmark, track and evaluate changes in Nutrient Utilization Efficiency (NUE), soil erosion, soil quality and greenhouse gas emissions over the course of three years. The Truterra sustainability tool delivers field-by-field, acre-by -acre performance data covering profitability, sheet and rill erosion, wind erosion, soil quality trend, net GHG, nitrogen use, and an overall sustainability score. 

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes has taken a leadership position in supporting on-farm sustainability that provides market opportunities for our farmer and retail-owners,” said Corey Scott, Truterra Livestock Services Lead. “We’re grateful food manufacturers like Bel Brands USA are showing a willingness to invest in on-farm sustainability projects, and we remain committed to providing programs, tools and support that not only contribute to the health of the planet, but also position farmers and the agriculture sector for success.” 

In addition to expanding the program to five more Land O’Lakes member dairy farms, the plans for the  2022 program will include a non-dairy cooperative that produces feed for dairy cows. This inclusion of a company at another step in the supply chain aims to further prove the scalability of the program.