We all know the importance of advocacy. Whether it’s sharing our stance on the priorities affecting our business with legislators or being an active voice in industry organizations, Land O'Lakes is leaning into this more than ever as we have our sights set on growth.
And we’re not just talking about Washington, D.C. As a, farmer-owned organization, grassroots, state-level engagement can play just as big of a role in shaping the future direction of our businesses and industry. From regulatory issues to tax and employment laws, it’s important our voice and views are represented at State Capitols across the country. Here are a few recent advocacy activities and a list of upcoming events where you can get involved.
Appearing at the state level
On Monday, Jan. 30, Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc., along with CEOs from Cargill and Ecolab, testified before the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee highlighting the benefit of being based and doing business in the state of Minnesota.
Chris’ testimony highlighted our founding and impressive history in Minnesota, outlining our employee and member-owner presence as well as the facilities we operate across our business units. He emphasized our overall economic impact and commitment to volunteerism and community engagement before closing with areas of opportunity that we seek the legislators’ support.
“We live here. We invest here. We enjoy the opportunities afforded us by our Minnesota headquarters. And, as I’ve said, we have grown into a big company, but we started as a small business. Even today, we watch the dynamics small businesses need to thrive very closely,” Chris said, as he shared our position on and the need for consistent regulation rather than a patchwork of local mandates.
The senators showed interest and appreciation of Land O’Lakes through questions around how the state can help us. And, they were surprised to learn the extensive way our business spans from farm-to-fork, not just at our headquarters, but across the state from our business operations to member farms to production facilities, to our employees and members making a difference in the communities where they live and work. Legislators came away with a greater understanding of the impact we have as a collective organization.
Last week we also had a group of members attend legislative days at their respective State Capitols. Dairy producers from Minnesota and co-op representatives—dairy and ag— from Wisconsin visited St. Paul and Madison to strengthen relationships and address a host of industry topics.
More recently, on Feb. 8, Becky Kenow, director of sustainability for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, testified before the Minnesota House Ag Policy Committee to discuss our new precision conservation capabilities of soil mapping and buffer placement along with other soil and water quality conservation efforts. This provided legislators a solid introduction of the tools, technologies and services Land O’Lakes is providing to farmers to help them continue to grow more while minimizing their environmental impact.
How you can get involved
In the coming weeks and months there are legislative events in a number of states where Land O’Lakes, Inc. has member-owners, employees and facilities. We encourage you to learn more and consider attending an event in your home state to advocate on behalf of your co-op and industry.
Contact Dana Brooks at DLBrooks@landolakes.com for details on any of the upcoming events. Below are a few examples of state legislative events currently scheduled.
Iowa Co-op Day on the Hill
Feb. 21 and 22 in Des Moines, Iowa
Texas Ag Cooperative Council
Feb. 22 and 23 in Austin, Texas
Cooperative Network Day at the Capitol
March 15 in St. Paul, Minn.
Ag Council of California
May 15 in Sacramento, Calif.