Award-winning farmers and ag retailers drive food system sustainability

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN awards recognize outstanding stewardship work

Tractor in a farm field

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN is focused every day on farmer-led, farmer-driven stewardship. It’s a priority that informs all we do, from forging new industry collaboration to delivering ag tech for sustainability through Truterra™. That’s why recently, we recognized a special group of inspiring farmers and agricultural retailers who are pioneering new practices and approaches, promoting agriculture in their communities and engaging with elected officials – and through it all, showcasing dramatic improvements in air, soil and water quality they have achieved on their farms.
Here's who we honored with our 2018 awards from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN:

Outstanding Ag Retailer

Central Farm Service (CFS), Truman, Minn.
Southern Minnesota based retailer Central Farm Service (CFS) received the 2018 Partners in Excellence Outstanding Ag Retailer Award for its collaboration with Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN to enroll more than 160,000 acres into the new Truterra Insights Engine. CFS is a key partner with Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on the Cedar River Watershed Partnership in Minnesota, an award-winning public-private partnership focused on connecting farmers with tools and resources to improve the soil, water and economic health of their operations and address water quality challenges in the region.
Ceres Solutions, Crawfordsville, IN
Also honored in this category was Ceres Solutions in Indiana, a Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN ag retailer for the past two years. Ceres was recognized for its involvement with the Big Pine watershed conservation project and its work on our recently-announced collaboration to source sustainably-grown corn from the Midwest for global ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle.

Outstanding Sustainability Award

Clark Land and Cattle, Williamsport, IN
Rick Clark of Clark Land and Cattle in Williamsport, Indiana was honored with the Outstanding Sustainability Award for his on-farm conservation efforts. Over the past ten years, Rick has integrated several conservation agronomy and sustainable land practices on his farm to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has reached nearly 100 percent no-till tillage and integration of cover crops on 6,000 acres spread across his own farm, plus land he manages for family members on two other operations.
Brad and Cathy Reece, Chariton, Iowa
Also honored were Brad and Cathy Reece of Chariton, Iowa. Brad and Cathy have been Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN growers for the past four years. They have used no-till since 1985, and have several thousand feet of terraces and waterways across their farm to minimize soil erosion.

Advocacy Award

Ray McCormick, McCormick Farms, Vincennes, IN
Advocacy Award winner Ray McCormick of Ray McCormick Farms/McCormick Farms in Vincennes, Indiana was recognized for his work to educate his community about the broader impact of on-farm stewardship. A lifelong conservationist and supporter of agriculture, Ray has been a public servant as well as a farmer. He advocated for sustainability as President of the Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts, as an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, and is currently on the board of directors for the Indiana Wildlife Foundation.
Chad and Donise Altenhofen, Altenhofen Farms, Chariton, IA
Also honored in the advocacy category were Chad and Donise Altenhofen of Altenhofen Farms in Chariton, Iowa. Chad and Donise have been active leaders in the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN South Central Coop Platform since its inception.

Innovation Award

Ian Coutts, Coutts Agro, Kindersley, Saskatchewan
The trailblazing farmer honored with this year’s Innovation Award is Ian Coutts of Coutts Agro in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. Farming 92,000 acres they were founding users of First Pass Technologies, a software to pre-plan field routes, Ian has eliminated 5-7 percent of total miles traveled, reducing GHG emissions, fertilizer use and the amount of soil turned up during seeding.  
Chris and Becky Atten, Hillwood Wis LLC, Cuba City, Wis.
Also honored in this category were Chris and Becky Atten of Hillwood Wis LLC in Cuba City, Wisconsin. Chris and Becky combine tried and true practices like crop rotation, no till and cover crops with innovative new technology to reduce the environmental impact of his farm.  
As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes knows that the work of these farmers and ag retailers is crucial for protecting the planet. We are incredibly proud to tell the stories of these farmers and ag retailers. We also know that these awards honor just a few of the thousands who are implementing cutting edge conservation practices to support cleaner air and water, better soil health, stronger rural and farm economies, and ultimately, a healthy, sustainable food system for everyone.
To learn more about Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, visit
For information on becoming a Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN agricultural retailer, contact Molly Toot at