THAT’S THE PERCENTAGE OF OUR EARTH’S LAND WHERE FARMERS GROW THEIR CROPS AND RAISE THEIR LIVESTOCK TO NOURISH THE WORLD.

 

The world’s population will be nearly 10 billion by 2050. This means we’ve got to work together – across continents, cultures and markets – to make abundant, nutritious food available so everyone can realize their full potential. And we need to do this in a way that sustains the health of our planet.

Land O'Lakes Venture37 is uniquely positioned to do just that. That’s because we have the backing of Land O’Lakes, Inc., a $15 billion farmer-owned cooperative with diversified agribusinesses in dairy, livestock and crops. Pair this with local insights from our nearly 40 years of agricultural development and we’ve got what it takes to unlock the potential of agricultural business ventures around the world.

Our Mission
Striving to help global communities thrive through agriculture. We are focused on long-term, human-centered impact. That’s why you’ll find a few commonalities across our portfolio:
Our decisions are evidence-based.
 
Data and science ensure our roadmap is built on facts, not assumptions. Evidence is ever-evolving—and so are we.
We regularly learn and adapt.
 
It’s about accelerating what’s working and changing what’s not. Because, we know we can always do better.
Creative planning is our thing.
 
Each global community is nuanced and complex, so is there any other way? Local insights must drive customization.
Our work is market-driven.
 
It’s all about finding challenges in the market and turning them into opportunities—all to accelerate supply and demand.
Social inclusion leads to lasting progress.
 
When men and women of all ages and ethnicities equally take part in a society, it strengthens the whole.
OUR AFFILIATION WITH LAND O’LAKES, INC.
A SHARED HISTORY, A SHARED PURPOSE

In 1981, a group of farmers gathered in a Minnesota board room of Land O’Lakes, Inc. to discuss a bold idea: international development. As members of a cooperative dating back to 1921, these farmers knew from experience that uniting to improve agriculture can lead to healthier communities and stronger economies. They also understood that food security and economic prosperity are good for all—for business ventures, for trade and for a more secure world.

This is how Land O'Lakes Venture37 got its start.

Today we are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but we still leverage expertise, innovation and technology from Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s four diversified businesses. This takes shape in many ways. Whether its championing food safety regulations, driving innovation through research + development, optimizing supply chain networks or offering farmers services to make informed decisions— we combine premier agribusiness know-how with local insights to create lasting impact.

Nearly 40 years after a room full of farmers decided to work together across continents and cultures for the common good—we still share a common purpose with Land O'Lakes, Inc. of Feeding Human Progress by advancing agriculture.

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
 
John Ellenberger,
Executive Director
John leads the Land O’Lakes Venture37, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1981 by Land O’Lakes, Inc. He assumed the role in January 2017 after leading the Land O'Lakes, Inc. U.S. Dairy Foods  teams since 2008. Before joining Land O’Lakes, John led corporate marketing at American Medical Systems and spent 15 years in various marketing leadership roles at General Mills. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Minnesota. John also serves on the Board of Directors for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, and ServeMinnesota.
 
Giselle Aris, Director of Strategic
Partnerships and New Ventures
Giselle joined our team in 2011, after spending two years designing, scaling and managing a smallholder farmer-owned dairy enterprise in South India. She brings over a decade of experience in facilitating inclusive private investment and accelerated business growth in emerging markets. Giselle loves dreaming up new types of shared value partnerships for advancing global agriculture development and food security – so if you have ideas on ways we could co-invest towards these goals, get in touch! Giselle’s happiest when she’s climbing a mountain, riding her bike, reading a book, or cooking and eating in good company.
 
Greg Grothe, Director of Project
Design and Technical Services
Greg joined our team in 2012 and has served in both technical and program management roles. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in strategy and business development in both financial services and agribusiness industries. Greg is passionate about leveraging the power of markets and social enterprise to create innovative solutions that address development challenges. He enjoys spending lake time with his wife and two young daughters, skijoring with his standard poodle Ruby and fly fishing across the Upper Midwest.
 
Tiffany Kramlich,
Human Resources Director
Tiffany joined our team in 2017. She also supports the Land O’ Lakes, Inc. Feed, Finance, and Corporate International businesses. She has 15+ years of experience providing strategic HR support to global businesses. Tiffany is mom to a teen, and when she’s not busy chauffeuring her daughter to activities, spends her free time swimming, meditating and doing yoga.
 
Leah Lamon,
Communications Director
Leah joined the Land O’Lakes Venture37 team in 2016 after spending three years leading marketing communications for the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Foods business. She brings 20+ years of experience in driving engagement and growth for businesses and brands in the food, health care and public media industries. Her favorite thing is to network, so please reach out and introduce yourself! She’s the proud mom of two young adult daughters, loves to travel, is a voracious reader and a wanna-be gardener.
 
Mary Jo Robinson,
Director of Operations
Mary Jo has been with Land O’Lakes for more than 30 years. She has held a variety of financial and operational positions both with Land O’Lakes, Inc. and with Land O’Lakes Venture37, working exclusively in Venture37 since 2002. Mary Jo holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and an MBA in International Financial Management from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. A recent empty nester, Mary Jo and her husband Gregg, love to travel, play golf and spend time on Minnesota lakes in the summer.
 
Meredith Saggers,
Director of Global Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning
A part of our team since 2014, Meredith leads the strategic direction of MEL across the organization. She brings 10+ years of experience implementing quality MEL systems in agriculture, education, and economic empowerment programs throughout the world. Meredith enjoys good food and fitness and is an avid traveler for work and pleasure.
 
Don Taussig,
Director of Global Security Services
Don has been providing security services for Land O’Lakes Venture37 and Land O’Lakes, Inc. since 2012. His experience includes more than 30 years of leadership and consulting in the areas of corporate security, law enforcement, investigations and international operations. He retired from the U.S. Army’s Military Police Corps in 1996 and from the U.S. Civil Service in 2011. One highlight of Don’s career was his appointment as a Director of Security for the Executive Office of the President by President George W. Bush.
 
Todd Stabenow, Senior Director IT
Todd has worked more than 20 years in technology across diverse companies and geographies. Todd’s current role with Land O'Lakes Venture37 is partnering with leadership on developing IT-enabled solutions that progress our strategy forward and help win business. Prior to joining Land O'Lakes, Inc. and moving to the twin Cities six years ago, Todd spent five years working in both Shanghai and Belgium. In his free time, Todd is an avid scuba diver and makes sure to bring his running shoes wherever he travels.