On-farm sustainability assessments get a refresh

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN team begins rollout of new tool

Dairy Cows Eating In A Barn

Customers and consumers increasingly want to know how their food is produced. A 2016 consumer trust research study by the Center for Food Integrity found while just 20 percent of consumers feel they know a lot about agriculture, 80 percent stated they want to learn more. At Land O’Lakes, Inc., we’re looking to bridge this knowledge gap.

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN’s efforts help us meet changing consumer and customer demands by giving us the data to back up our claims to customers and provide a platform to proactively tell our sustainability story. Data-driven insights help you understand your farm’s profile and give you the opportunity to share what you’re doing to preserve our natural resources.

This summer, we’re rolling out a new tool that streamlines the on-farm assessment process. Compared to the previous process where data was collected through a hand-written response, we’ll now enter your data into an iPad that adjusts the assessment based on your responses–giving you the shortest possible assessment for your farm. GHG, energy and water use scores are calculated almost instantly, with a detailed report that shows benchmarked scores and suggested practices generated and emailed the next day. And as a result, we’ll be able to deliver stronger data and stories for customers as well as robust recommendations that drive continuous improvement opportunities for members.

The assessments have begun in the West and Upper Midwest and will continue to roll out across the country through the end of summer. The initiative is part of Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN’s long term strategy to support member-owners with products, services and/or partnerships that meet their needs and support their business while reducing the impact on the environment.

What to expect

Your local field staff representative will schedule a visit to cover expectations for the assessment. From there, they’ll spend 1-2 hours on farm reviewing on-farm practices related to GHG emissions, energy use and water quality and use to create a report. Based on the report, you my identify opportunities to drive more measurable on-farm improvements.

If you’re interested in scheduling an on-farm assessment, reach out to your field staff representative to start the process. As all the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN offerings evolve, what remains the same is our collective opportunity: to proactively meet and influence sustainability pressures and tell our sustainability story–together.