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 in the nation, it's owned by nearly 4,000 dairy farmer/members and some 900 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 more than 60 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.
Land O'Lakes provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations.
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.
After several years of strong double-digit revenue growth, in 2013 Land O'Lakes reported a 4% increase, from $13.6 million to $14.2 million, as Dairy Foods and Crop Inputs sales grew but Feed and Layers reported lower results than previous years. Dairy Foods in particular had a banner year, turning in a 101% revenue increase and record sales volume in its retail and foodservice businesses. While the other segments both turned in disappointing results, the company pointed to improved volume in Feed's companion animal line and lower losses in Layers. Land O'Lakes has been working to lower costs and improve margins in Layers but says its now considering ways to divest the line.
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 2014 it agreed to provide training and other services to Nestlé's Dairy Farming Institute, a dairy training center, in Shuangcheng, China. That year it also announced plans to sell its struggling Layers (egg) business while purchasing a satellite company that provides data to farmers.
In mid-2012 the company added to its dairy foods' business by buying out Kozy Shack Enterprises. The maker of chilled dairy desserts opened the door for Land O'Lakes to expand into the refrigerated desserts aisle -- a new retail category for the company.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 Land O'Lakes purchased long-time supplier Geosys, a satellite imaging and agricultural data provider, in order to continue its quest to be a agribusiness leader.
Land O'Lakes is owned by its more than 4,000 dairy farmer/members and some 900 member associations.