Blog Update
Global food security means that people everywhere have access to enough safe, nutritious food to eat every day. But it’s not a reality. And with 9 billion of us projected to live on the planet by 2050, feeding the world tomorrow won’t be possible unless we all start working together today. That’s why Land O’Lakes, Inc. is introducing Cultivate Community With the Global Food Challenge. It’s a new food security-focused competition open to college students in the United States who want to help devise solutions to the problem of food insecurity.
Blog Update
Growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, Deanna Zernicke was familiar with Land O’Lakes, Inc. and recognized the value of advocating for the agriculture industry. In college, she heard about an internship opportunity with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge program. This piqued her interest, and she attended a career fair to find out more.

It’s Not Goodbye; It’s See You Later

Posted by Dane Chapman, Fri, August 10

As I sit down to write this farewell blog, I feel overwhelmed with emotion because of the amazing experiences the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge has given us 10 Emerging Leaders. However, this blog isn’t meant to dwell on our farewell, but rather to highlight the learning experiences we encountered.

So what was my biggest takeaway from this summer? Life is most fulfilling when you surround yourself with three things: people, passion and purpose.


It’s all about the people

It feels like yesterday that the 10 of us received the email stating, “Congratulations, you have been selected as an Emerging Leader within the Global Food Challenge Program!” Weeks after receiving that email, we were aboard flights destined for the Twin Cities to meet for the very first time in January. By the end of the three-day January orientation, we were already forming friendships, cracking jokes and snapping a few group selfies. Once summer arrived, our group started running full-steam ahead, and we haven’t looked back! We traveled together to Malawi, South Africa, Washington, D.C., and several Mideastern states throughout the summer. We took in beautiful landscapes, swam spontaneously (a very common tendency in our group) in the Indian and Atlantic oceans at the southern-most tip of Africa and learned about agriculture from many viewpoints in different countries.

But for me, it was the people who really made this summer a life-changing experience. From the Land O’Lakes family to the people we visited in Africa, we were always welcomed with warm hearts and open minds which made an impression on us, as young determined agriculturists who strive to make a difference in this world. Without the love and support of others, this summer would not have been the same.


Passion is energy

No matter if it was planning surprise welcome back parties for some of our teammates who left for a weekend or speaking to members of Congress during Capitol Hill visits, our team always shared our passions and certainly never lacked in exuding energy! When we worked on our projects and spoke with farmers from around the world, we realized that many others share the same energy but maybe a different passion. The different passions are what make the agriculture industry exciting, because it will take many different skills, interests and, ultimately, those passions to work collaboratively to make the industry successful in our goal of feeding human progress.


Purpose is power

It can be difficult to know what your purpose is as a student. Although purpose may change throughout life, the experiences of this summer have helped refine my purpose - to work to make the lives of others better through agriculture and leadership. I witnessed firsthand how agriculturists around the world are facing similar challenges regarding weather, access to markets and capital, and policy. Although I cannot change the weather, I can use my business degree to make a positive difference by working to address the business challenges that face the agriculture industry.

I am walking away from this summer internship thankful for the opportunities, grateful for my nine teammates and the memories we share, and passionate to help others. Ten students walked into Land O’Lakes in January, and we are walking out today with a purpose - feeding human progress.