DIVERSITY: Making Workforce Inclusion a Priority

Land O’Lakes, Dairy Foods magazine’s processor of the year, has 10,000 employees working across all 50 states and more than 50 different countries

Kathie Canning
Dec 10, 2018 · 3 min read

Land O’Lakes Inc. prides itself on an inclusive environment.

The company has 10,000 employees working across all 50 states and more than 50 different countries, with an increasing focus on inclusion and teamwork.

Chris Roberts, president, Dairy Foods, and executive vice president, Land O’Lakes, says the cooperative is continually evolving its approach “to win in a rapidly transforming marketplace.”

That emphasis on collaborative diversity is one reason Land O’Lakes was named Dairy Foods magazine’s 2018 dairy processor of the year.

Philomena Morrisey Satre, director of diversity and inclusion, is tasked with elevating the voice of every employee and member and coming up with ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into Land O’Lakes’ culture. Working with a cross-functional team at headquarters and in the company’s remote locations across the country, she supports and champions the work of all employees.

Land O’Lakes recognizes that it needs to continue to transform when it comes to how it thinks about its business and how it works with its customers, said Greg Somerville, vice president, Dairy Foods sales (pictured at left). Chris Roberts, president, Dairy Foods, and executive vice president, Land O’Lakes (pictured at right), said the cooperative is continually evolving its approach “to win in a rapidly transforming marketplace.”

Land O’Lakes’ diversity and inclusion strategy has two focus areas, Roberts added: workforce and marketplace.

The workforce area focuses on how and whom the company recruits, as well as on the feel of the work environment, while the marketplace area focuses on engaging with partners, customers and communities.

In addition, Land O’Lakes has eight employee resource groups (ERGs) that support the company in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • African Ancestry
  • Asian Affinity Connection
  • LOL Amigos
  • Pride Alliance
  • Veterans Enablement and Troop Support (VETS)
  • The Women’s Leadership Network
  • The Young Professionals Network
  • Disability Awareness.

The company’s efforts here haven’t gone unnoticed. In fact, the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs’ Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program recently named Land O’Lakes a Yellow Ribbon Company for fostering a workplace culture that supports veterans.

“Our VETS ERG is focused on recruitment and retention and works closely with a dedicated HR recruiter to make sure we are reaching veterans for our positions at our headquarters and in facilities across the U.S.,” Roberts said.

“Within the workplace, the VETS ERG provides support, guidance and networking for our military employees both home and abroad. Called Land O’Lakes Veteran Connection, the program allows new hires and retained employees to reach out to other employee veterans from their same — or different — branch, either at headquarters or in the field.”

About Land O’Lakes:

When 320 dairy farmers came together in St. Paul, Minn., back in 1921 to form the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association, they likely didn’t have big dreams of becoming a cooperative powerhouse. They simply wanted to market their milk effectively.

But almost 100 years later, that small operation — rechristened as Land O’Lakes Inc. in 1949 — has grown to almost 4,000 member-owners (almost 2,000 of which are individual dairy producers or other dairy cooperatives).

It has four business units that include Land O Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. For fiscal year 2017, the Arden Hills, Minn.-based cooperative posted a record $364.8 million in net earnings on $13.7 billion in sales.

Read more about Land O’Lakes and why it was chosen as Dairy Foods magazine’s 2018 dairy processor of the year.

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Kathie Canning

Written by

Kathie Canning is editor-in-chief of Dairy Foods magazine.

Got Jobs?

Got Jobs?

Stories and data showing dairy creates jobs and exports create more jobs.