ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (PRNewswire) — Land O'Lakes, Inc. this week announced that the Land O'Lakes Foundation will support the development of the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center with a gift of $1 million. The proposed facility, a world-class, interactive experience will highlight sustainable and responsible farming practices. The gift underscores Land O'Lakes' ongoing commitment to help American agriculture tell the story of where food comes from and to connect visitors with the great growth needs and opportunities in agriculture.
"Today less than 2 percent of the United States population is involved in production agriculture. It's vital that we tell the great productivity and sustainability story of the American food and agriculture industry," said Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. "Helping people understand that story is vital to our future need of producing enough food using fewer resources so we can feed a hungry planet."
The gift will support the Land O'Lakes, Inc. Birthing Barn that will allow visitors to watch the birth of two to three calves per day. Located near the shoreline of Lake Michigan, the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center will serve as an educational resource as more people want to understand the origins of their food and learn about the production process.
The center will also include a discovery center that features hands-on learning opportunities, technology used to feed people around the world and an opportunity to tour Grotegut Farm, a progressive third-generation dairy farm focused on sustainability and best farming practices. The Grotegut Farm began milking 51 cows in 1956 and has grown to sustainably milking 2,400 cows three times a day.
"We are incredibly honored to partner with Land O'Lakes, Inc., on building Wisconsin's first agricultural education center," said Melissa Bender, executive director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center. "This leadership investment will help us tell the agriculture story of how productive and sustainable farmers are today, their focus on animal well-being, all leading to healthy living and a strong economy."
Julie Maurer, who serves as president of the WAEC board of directors added: "A well-informed public is good for agriculture and for our ability to connect with consumers. The educational opportunity this gift helps create will have an immeasurable impact in our community, our industry and all those who want to help feed the world."
About Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from farm production to consumer foods. With 2014 annual sales of more than $15 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 203 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 94 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and Winfield Solutions. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.