Best known for its #1 US butter brand, Land O'Lakes looks to butter everyone's bread to boost its bottom line. One of the largest dairy co-ops nationwide, it's owned by about 4,140 dairy farmer/members and some 920 member associations. It markets dairy-based consumer, food service, and food ingredient items. The co-op makes more than 300 dairy products from the 12 billion pounds of milk that members supply annually. Land O'Lakes produces animal feed through Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, and eggs through MoArk. The co-op also offers members seed and crop protection products, animal feed, and agricultural assistance. It operates dairy facilities in the US and does business in all 50 states and over 50 countries.
Land O'Lakes' operations span four segments: Dairy Foods (the co-op's largest business segment accounting for about a third of total sales), Crop Inputs, Feed, and Layers (aka eggs). The Crop Inputs business, Winfield Solutions, is the leading crop inputs wholesaler in the US; its operations include development, marketing, and sales of seed (alfalfa, corn, soybeans) for an array of crops, along with distributing a line of herbicides, pesticides, and other crop protection products. Land O'Lakes Purina Feed supplies livestock feed and animal milk replacers. The eggs business, conducted through MoArk, is the nation's #2 marketer of shell eggs and #1 in branded and specialty eggs.
While Land O'Lakes' products are sold throughout the US and abroad, the company does not break out its foreign sales. Growth markets for the co-op's products include China, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.
Land O'Lakes achieved record sales of $12.8 billion in 2011, a 15% increase over the prior year. Net earnings were $182 million, up from $178 million in 2010. Earnings increased in Layers and declined in Dairy Foods, Feed, and Crop Inputs. All of the co-op's four business segments posted gains. Sales of its Dairy Foods increased 17% to $4.3 billion, primarily due to higher butter, cheese, and milk prices, and the introduction of new products, such as spreadable tub butters. The Winfield Solutions' crop input business posted an 8% gain in sales for the year driven by higher demand for crop protection products and seed. Feed sales grew 18% to $3.9 billion in 2011, while the eggs business saw its net sales jump 17% to nearly $600 million due to higher egg prices. The co-op credited improved commodity markets, among other factors for the increases. The co-op returned about $107 million in cash to its members in 2011, down from nearly $125 million in 2010.
Land O'Lakes' growth strategy is focused on developing and selling value-added, branded products to major customers and high-growth markets at home and overseas. To that end, the cooperative has pursued acquisitions, joint ventures, and alliances across its four business segments. In mid-2012 the company added to its dairy foods' business by buying out Kozy Shack Enterprises. The maker of chilled dairy desserts opens the door for Land O'Lakes to expand into the refrigerated desserts aisle -- a new retail category for the company. In August 2011, Winfield Solutions acquired a 60% stake in Mexico's Global Seed Genetics (GSG), S.A. de C.V. GSG specializes in the development of proprietary conventional tropical corn seeds. Later in the year, MoArk added to its brown egg production capacity on the East Coast by signing a long-term leasing for three shell egg production facilities in Maine. In Dairy Foods the cooperative is adding new and value-added products, including spreadable tub butters, butter half-sticks and "Deli Wellness" cheeses. Also, in 2011 the co-op exited a DairyAmerica (a dairy commodities marketing organization) and established its own branded, value-added milk powder business serving big commercial customers. As a result Land O'Lakes claims to have doubled its market presence in fast-growing markets abroad, including China, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.
Land O'Lakes is owned by its more than 4,140 dairy farmer/members and some 920 member associations.