Landus Cooperative shows support to communities, employees, farmer/owners
By KRISS NELSON
JEFFERSON -Landus Cooperative’s grain complex at their Jefferson location was used in a not-so-traditional way when it became the screen for a drive-in movie night last Saturday.
Frozen 2 was projected onto one of the cooperative’s concrete grain silos providing entertainment for an estimated 300 people.
Ethan Taube, location manager for Landus Cooperative in Jefferson said they decided to host a drive-in movie night at the co-op as an opportunity to create a COVID safe event.
“We thought it would be a great way to get them out, gather as a community -safely of course, and see a movie that is pretty popular among the young ones right now,” he said.
In conjunction with the drive-in movie, Landus Cooperative took the opportunity to raise donations for the local food bank, Greene County Christian ARC, gathering non-perishable food items and cash donations.
“We were fortunate we had a tremendous turnout and offering by the community for that, he said. “We were able to gather 30 non-perishable food items and over $1,000 in donations for the local food bank. That will go a long way in our community.”
Taube said they counted 109 cars and estimate over 300 people were in attendance for the movie.
Although he was skeptical at first, Taube said he was more than pleased with the turnout.
“The AV Company team we worked with to put this together did a tremendous job. I was really impressed with the clarity of the movie and could see a lot of smiles on little one’s faces as I was walking around,” he said. “It went well.”
Alicia Heun, director of communications for Landus Cooperative said they took every precaution and were in touch with public health officials to ensure they hosted a safe event.
“We did check with the Greene County Department of Public Health, we got their insight,” she said adding they also reached out to the Governor’s office during the planning process.
Matt Carstens, CEO for Landus Cooperative said there could be more opportunities for other drive-in movie at the co-op events this summer.
“It makes sense for us to look at continuing these throughout the summer,” he said. “I think this should continue and we will see how the rest of the team feels. Bringing these communities together makes sense under the Landus umbrella.”
Carstens said there may be a possibility this could happen at other Landus Cooperative locations.
“I think it is important to spread it out to other locations, this is a really good, strong example of how we bring our rural communities and our farmer/owners together. They do work harmoniously and Landus is a big part of that,” he said. “We wanted to demonstrate the ability to show the power of our farmer/owners, our rural communities and Landus – all three together doing something that is really special.”
Landus Cooperative is planning to make wi-fi more accessible in several of their rural locations, hopefully starting Friday.
“This is another example of the power of Landus uniting our farmer/owners and our rural communities we operate in,” he said.
Landus Cooperative is make high-speed internet available at their Aredale, Beaver, Britt, Farnhamville, Huxley, Manilla, Paton and Thompson locations. This can be done by simply showing up to one of those locations and accessing it from the parking lot.
“You will pull into the co-op, there will be a sign to guide you where to park,” said Carstens. “They can be in their vehicle safely and use the internet. To be able to do that, in away, will allow them that opportunity like the big cities get whether it is going to McDonalds or another venue.”
The free access to wi-fi, Carstens said is a necessity has several students are now utilizing the internet for educational resources; parents and families are also needing that source for tele-health access; job searches and more.
Carstens said the opportunity for high-speed internet may not end there.
“We also have interest in discussion on what can be done throughout the whole small town,” he said. “That has a little more work to do, but we are working on some projects in other communities where we can look at going on top of the grain facilities and being able to broadcast throughout the communities and do that at a reduced fee for them out of their homes. This is opening so many doors, it will be really neat to see what this can become.”
Pass the Pork
Landus Cooperative also recently announced a $20,000 donation to support the Iowa Food Bank Association and the new “Pass the Pork” program to connect Iowa pig farmers with food insecure Iowans.
Through “Pass the Pork,” Iowa pork producers are donating pigs to the Iowa Food Bank Association and other food bank programs. However, there are costs associated with the processing, storage, and delivery of the pork to food banks and pantries. By utilizing matching funds through the Land O’ Lakes Foundation, Landus is able to increase the amount given to assist with these costs.
“Landus is proud to support families in our communities and Iowa’s farmers at the same time. We touch the entire food supply chain and recognize the increase in demand at food banks and the producers’ concerns on where to take the hogs because of COVID-19,” said Carstens. “This is one way for us to show our commitment to Iowa’s pork producers and our commitment to providing a quality food supply for families in Iowa.”
Once the pork is received, the Iowa Food Bank Association is getting the food resources into the hands of Iowa families across the state who are in need.
“It is important to understand when we made that donation, we specifically said that pork needs to go back to the communities where we do business those food banks are going to have pork from pork producers, from the area, that was funded by Landus,” said Heun.
“We need to tend to these communities supporting ag from Landus employees to farmer/owners of Landus and the communities we operate in,” said Carstens. “That’s another great way to do it. Especially led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture. It made perfect sense to participate. I think that $20,000 in conjunction with Land O’ Lakes was really powerful to the effort of the whole program.”
“On behalf of our farmer-members and customers during this time of uncertainty in the marketplace, we are pleased that Landus is supporting the Iowa Food Bank Association and ‘Pass the Pork’ to get local swine products processed to meet the growing demands by our communities and families in need,” said Gowrie, Iowa-area crop and livestock farmer and President of the Board, Jim Carlson.
Carstens said Landus Cooperative is working on more ways to lend support.
“Landus is not just about the farmer/owners, not just our employees, but the rural communities we operate in and Iowa agriculture as a whole,” he said. “When you put the power of all these together, amazing things can be done and especially in a time like this where people are looking for answers. These little things can make a big difference and it’s part of what Landus sees as our responsibility to be a player in that – to really bring these groups together in a way that helps support what needs to happen in rural Iowa.”
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