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8 things we are thankful for in 2019
This Thanksgiving, we're giving thanks to the people and partners who make this international development work possible

In the United States, we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, which we’re celebrating this week. It’s a day centered around food and family, and it’s meant to prompt people to do just as it says – give thanks.

As an organization, we are often looking to the future. How will farmers fare during the next growing season? What’s the next cutting-edge technology we should know about? How will we feed the 10 billion by 2050? Our industry is complex with big ambitions. And there are a lot of people and organizations contributing to these goals every day. 

As a nonprofit that is striving to help global communities thrive through agriculture, Land O’Lakes Venture37 is grateful for every piece of that puzzle. For this Thanksgiving, we are stepping back to show our appreciation. 

Here are a few things we are thankful for:

  1. Farmers. Women. Men. Corporate. Smallholder. Dairy. Chickens. Mushrooms. Maize. No matter what kind of farmer they are, we are thankful for them. They nourish our communities, and we know their potential is unlimited. This is why they are at the center of everything we do.
  2. Partnerships. Public and private partnerships – like new ones we’ve forged in 2019 with Villa Crop Protection in tackling Fall Armyworm and with Catholic Relief Services in supporting vulnerable households in Madagascar – expand our thinking, create new pathways and deepen our collective impact. When we band together with complementary expertise and resources, we create a sum greater than the parts (1+1 = 3).
  3. Conveners. Great things happen when you bring people and organizations together. In 2019, we set ambitions into motion at events like the African Green Revolution Forum, ATI Summit, USGLC forums and the ICA Cooperative Conference. We’ve also learned from fellow industry organizations, through platforms like Agrilinks and Feed the Future’s #HerImpact Twitter chat. To all the conveners out there, we appreciate you.
  4. The 37%. That’s the percentage of our Earth’s land where farmers grow their crops and raise their livestock – and we’re grateful for every hectare of it. We are always looking for solutions that sustainably boost yields while keeping the long-term health of our planet a priority. After all, it’s home to all of us.
  5. Data. It helps us understand the impact we have with the people we work with, enabling us to design and adapt projects to improve communities around the world. It also helps us measure positive and negative changes we are seeing as a result of the project. We use this data, along with local insights, to alter our approaches to maximize the positive and minimize the negative.
  6. Customers. John Ellenberger put it best. Ambitions of funders – like USAID, USDA and nonprofit foundations – are improving agricultural practices and markets, leading to better incomes for farmers and their families, stronger agricultural businesses and industries, and more resilient and secure communities. That’s something to be thankful for.
  7. Land O’Lakes, Inc. We share a purpose, network and headquarters office with a $15 billion farmer-owned cooperative that touches half the harvested acres in the United States. These experts in crop inputs and insights, animal nutrition, product marketing, food safety and sustainability deepen our bench of offerings, from farmer-to-fork. Farmers helping farmers. Agribusiness helping agribusiness – all in the name of global economic and food security. Thanks, Land O’Lakes, Inc. You make us butter.
  8. And finally, each other. Our employees are the driving force behind our organization’s success. This diverse team of individuals is spread out around the world, but we have something that unites us across hectares, oceans and cultures: a common belief that there is a path to global food security. And, we’re also a good bunch of humans who enjoy working together.

From all of us at Land O’Lakes Venture37, Happy Thanksgiving!

By Ashley Peterson 11/25/2019