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There are countless benefits from joining a cooperative, including sharing the risk and rewards that come with the fluctuations in the agriculture industry.
Blog Update
“Is this an agricultural co-op or a tech company?” This was a question recently posed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl in a segment about Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Emerging Leaders Reflect…and Look Ahead, Part 1

Posted by Land O'Lakes, Fri, September 20

The Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders Program has wrapped for 2019. Our six Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to learn about agricultural policy through visits to the Minnesota State Legislature; to work with agricultural cooperatives in the U.S. heartland; and take a life-changing trip to Africa to learn more about agricultural practices and see firsthand the ways farmers there are combating food insecurity. They also received a valuable grounding in leadership skills through working with individual mentors from a Fortune 200 business.


Here is what the Emerging Leaders had to say about what they learned from their participation in the program and how they plan to use that knowledge.


QUESTION: What lessons did you learn through your participation in the Global Food Challenge and how will you take those back to your community?


A’YSHA CALLAHAN: The Global Food Challenge taught me that food insecurity is not only a problem for the food insecure to solve; it is also up to innovative, passionate and generous individuals to make a difference. Throughout this summer, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan on sharing with my community. Some lessons directly related to the experience, and some were things I ran into along the way. I learned to always apply myself to whatever it is that I might be passionate about. I also learned to keep an open mind, because the program purposely exposes you to things you may have never seen or tried. For me, these new experiences ranged from being on farms, traveling internationally and working on a nontraditional intern project. Moving forward, I’ll make it a point to keep an open mind —whether about agriculture, meeting new people or trying something that I would usually shy away from. 


LOGAN GLASSBURN: I look forward to taking the Land O’Lakes mission statement of Feeding Human Progress back to my school and my community. As an ag education major and an advocate for agriculture, I’m excited to share my new perspective on food security, paired with the mission of Feeding Human Progress, with my colleagues. Purdue University and Purdue Agriculture have many capable, motivated and willing individuals whom I have no doubt can turn this mission into action.


ANNA JASPERS: One lesson I will take back to my community is that anyone has the power to affect change within their community. We all have a voice and a unique perspective that makes that voice powerful. If you want to fight food insecurity, there is so much you can do simply by being an advocate and using your voice. Speak to your elected officials, advocate in your community or just talk to your friends about the work there is to be done.


CLAIRE LENTSCH: I realized that world hunger starts right here at home. We have local families who struggle with food insecurity every day. When I return to campus, I will help support students and families who are facing food insecurity by volunteering and spreading awareness about the reality of this issue. I want to share my Global Food Challenge Program experience with students and encourage others to take a step forward and explore new leadership opportunities. This experience showed me how tangible change is. I aspire to inspire people to reach their full potential on both personal and professional levels, while empowering them to disrupt systems and change lives. 


ERIK OHMAN: I leaned that eliminating food waste is one of the best ways to reduce your impact on our natural environment and that improving the supply chain is integral to Feeding Human Progress. The experience allowed me to improve my social skills and broaden my social network. I learned how be an advocate for agriculture and to clearly and concisely communicate a personal opinion on a controversial topic. I also gained experience in working in ambiguity, which helped me develop my leadership skills.


RILEY SLEICHTER: The greatest lesson I will take back to my community is a realization of the impact that our local cooperatives have on the community and the farmers they work for. I grew up with Mid Kansas Coop (MKC) in my backyard, but I never realized until this summer just how meaningful and impactful cooperatives are to our communities.