A new enterprise focusing on environmental sustainability has been unveiled by US food-to-agriculture company Land O’Lakes.

The Minnesota-based members’ owned co-operative has announced the creation of a new business unit, Sustain, which will focus on aligning environmental sustainability efforts across the entire Land O’Lakes group.

Sustain aims to ensure sustainable crop production, boosting sustainability within its dairy foods and feed businesses and partnering with third parties, including the government, to improve efficiency and collaboration on conservation and sustainability programmes.

One example of this is Land O’Lakes recently announced public-private partnership with the State of Minnesota to protect and improve water quality across the state.

“Stewardship of the land, water and air has been a hallmark of our farmers for generations, and we’re excited to announce a new step forward to serve our members and customers even better, and ultimately, continue our commitment to preserving our resources,” said Chris Policinski, Land O’Lakes, president and CEO.

“Our business portfolio, which includes Winfield US crop inputs, Purina animal feed and Land O’Lakes foods, gives us a ‘farm-to-fork’ view of what sustainability truly means for our industry. We believe that view, partnered with the tools and technology we have developed, will help sustainability practices across the value chain of all our businesses and those of our partners in the industry.”

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The Sustain business will be headed by Matt Carstens, who has moved to Land O’Lakes as senior vice president, from his position as vice president of Ames, Iowa-based United Suppliers, where he was responsible for developing the sustainability business. His experience includes retail, wholesale and manufacturing functions in the crop inputs business.

Last year Land O’Lakes reported annual sales of $13bn, making it one of the country’s largest co-operatives.