The nonprofit venture connected to the Land O’Lakes cooperative announced the rebranding Tuesday [Aug. 13]. The shift changes the name from Land O’Lakes International Development to Land O’Lakes Venture37.
The nonprofit was established to share insights on feed, animal nutrition and agriculture production developed by Land O’Lakes with global communities, according to organization information.
The transition is intended to better reflect who the organization is rather than describe what it does, said John Ellenberger, executive director with Land O’Lakes Venture37, during a conference call. “We really wanted to adopt a new brand that captured the aspirations and the ambitions that we have, kind of an optimism and an energy that we feel is captured well within the concept of Venture37,” he said.
The name references the 37% of arable land globally that can be used for feed and food production, he added.
The organization has been involved with supporting agribusiness development and market growth, he said. Since its initial start, the group has completed more than 300 projects in almost 80 countries – including working with food safety regulations in Egypt, developing the dairy sector in Bangladesh and supporting crop development efforts in Mozambique.
Following the rebranding, Venture37 is planning to continue its ongoing development projects and support efforts in 10 countries, Ellenberger told us.
“It’s a nod to how we believe local insights and support for farmers in developing nations is key to feeding a global population, working with a finite amount of land,” he said of the change. “It also captures the energy we bring to our work around the world, and the very unique aspect of being able to leverage technical capabilities from Land O’Lakes, Inc.”
Going forward, the organization is also planning to continue adding new projects and locations to the work it does, he said.
“Our relationship with Land O’Lakes, Inc. is really special because it enables us to bring technical capacity and expertise to bear on projects in a unique way,” he said. “As we work with livestock farmers around the world to optimize their production and build capacity in animal agriculture, we can turn to experts from Purina Animal Nutrition who can offer specialized insights on animal feed strategies.”
“It’s really all about taking what’s been learned over the nearly 100-year history of a farmer-owned cooperative, and deploying that knowledge to help improve farming, food security and agribusiness practices in developing nations,” he added.
International development project efforts
The nonprofit was started from the idea that farmers help each other, said Evie Severyn, food safety and quality manager at Land O’Lakes, during the call. “Food security and economic prosperity are good for all, for business ventures, for trade and for a more secure world,” she added.
As the cooperative develops new information to address animal feed, dairy production, sustainability and other areas it is able to share that knowledge with Venture37, she said.
Many of the projects that Venture37 supports emulate the work that Land O’Lakes does, added Dai Harvey, director of programs with Venture37. The nonprofit is able to bring global insight to the projects it creates and adjust that knowledge for regional environments.
Currently, the organization has several ongoing projects working with dairy producers, including in Rwanda where a new cooperative development program is being launched, and in Mozambique where producers need help with marketing and access to farm inputs, he said. “In addition, … we're working in the Republic of Georgia, which is in the Caucasus, as you know, to assist farmers in improving their management practices, improving their gross margins and also looking at how do we improve the aspects around food safety and quality of products.”
Working with animal feed and nutrition has been a common theme for the organization, said Ellenberger. Knowledge in these areas often accompanies work to expand dairy productivity or help smallholder farmers address local challenges.
“Because feed and nutrition [are] such an important element of any livestock-related endeavor, it plays a big role in much of our work,” he said. “We often have help and support from Land O’Lakes, Inc. experts in this work via the Purina Animal Nutrition business.”