Investing for the future
As a farmer-owned food and agriculture cooperative, Land O’Lakes has the perspective and expertise needed to meet the needs of a growing industry and growing population. And we have a clear plan on how to do it. We’re investing in projects to strengthen our brands, bring innovative products and services to market, and expand our international footprint.

Let’s recap

From new product innovations to technology and agronomic expertise, we’ve made strategic investments in each of our brands—and it’s paid off for our member-owners, customers and consumers.

We won’t argue with The New York Times, which proclaimed butter was back. In fact, U.S. butter consumption rose to its highest level in 40 years,* which led to record-high butter prices and significant market volatility. Because of the strength of our brand and efforts to reach new consumers, we responded to market conditions and delivered record volume and profits in our branded butter business.

While our brand has been a favorite among baby boomers for decades, we’re working to build similar loyalty with the millennial generation. These younger consumers often look for simple, convenient and wholesome products. We had great success recently with products such as Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil, Garlic & Herb Butter Spread and Sauté Express® Meal Starters.

We’re also reaching this consumer group in some engaging ways, such as our Webby-Award-winning “Pin A Meal, Give A Meal” Pinterest campaign, our partnership with the “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond and through successful campaigns like Kozy Shack’s “Pudding Made Right.” The campaign focused on simple ingredients and helped double Kozy Shack’s brand awareness and drive volume growth and profits.

* American Butter Institute, 2014

2.7 Million
Meals donated through our Pin A Meal,
Give A Meal campaign in 2014

Parlor talk

Over the summer, our “Kitchen Conversations” bloggers teamed up with member-owners Glen and Sadie Frericks to bring a real look at dairy farming to the online world. “I was thrilled to participate because I know that consumers have questions about where their food comes from,” Sadie said. “The best way to help consumers understand farming is to bring them to a farm. We can’t give tours to thousands of people on a regular basis, so social media is the next best way to reach them.”

During and after the visit, the bloggers shared photos and stories with their online communities. This was a new way to show their readers—often millennials—where their dairy products come from and what it means to be a modern farmer. “For all but two of the bloggers, this was their first visit to a dairy farm,” she said. “I think the tour gave them a better understanding of the family farmer-owners of Land O’Lakes.”

Quality, innovation and expertise are at the core of the Purina brand. Wanting an effective way to demonstrate how we put these values into everything we do, we made a significant investment in the Purina Animal Nutrition Center located outside St. Louis, Missouri. In 2014, the renovations wrapped up and visitors began to come in record numbers to see what we had to offer.

Co-op, dealer and producer visits to the new-and-improved center more than doubled this past year, surpassing 10,000. As part of 40 national and regional VIP events, visitors to the center experienced our research and products in action. And nearly 83 percent entered into a new or expanded business relationship with Purina as a result of their visit. Overall, the business generated by the research farm exceeded expectations and drove bottom-line growth.

Visitors to the Purina Animal Nutrition Center

Cattle VIPs

In 2014, the team at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center hosted 11 VIP events for cattle producers. The events were a response to emerging marketing conditions—including record high calf prices and low commodity costs—and a chance to showcase how Purina’s value-added product line delivers better results in herds. At the farm, attendees were given an exclusive look at how products like the Wind & Rain® Cattle Mineral line and the new Accuration® Block, when used as part of a Sustained Nutrition program, deliver maximum cattle performance. The results speak for themselves: 90 percent of Cattle VIP attendees entered into new or expanded business with us.

To meet the increasing demand for food, farmers must maximize available resources to drive productivity. Many are embracing technology as a way to gain greater insight and increase yields without increasing their footprint.

As a leading distributor of agricultural products, technology and insights, WinField continues to help farmers meet this challenge. With proprietary offerings such as the R7®Tool, Answer Plot® Program, NutriSolutions 360™ System and Spray Analysis System, we help farmers and retailers make smarter decisions.

We’ve also been on the leading edge of advances in Big Data. At the first-ever WinField Ag Technology Summit, more than 200 of our most closely aligned co-op and retail partners got a glimpse at the Answer Tech™ web portal and WinField Data Silo™ system, which will help farmers better manage and leverage their data in a secure environment.

Year WinField debuted the first-ever Ag Technology Summit

Rise and outshine

In a world of $8 corn, growth can sometimes take care of itself. Then the market changes, growing conditions shift and crop prices take a dip. This is when the cooperative model shines. “Our main goal is to help each and every one of our farmers become better,” said George Secor, president and CEO of Sunrise Cooperative, a Land O’Lakes member. “When I pick a partner, I’m either all in or I’m all out. WinField’s always been all in.”

Sunrise relies on WinField to source the best products and ingredients and offer the training and support to put them to their best use. “Precision farming 15 years ago was about taking grid soil samples every two to three acres and then applying fertilizer according to that,” said Jerry Miller, vice president of agronomy at Sunrise. “Today, precision encompasses many things. The R7® Tool from WinField is one of the biggest things today in our precision department.
Talking strategy
Grab a seat, some of our leaders are sharing more about our big accomplishments in 2014 and what gets them excited for the future.
Going global
There is a huge opportunity to meet the changing needs of a growing global population. We’re up to the challenge, and our businesses offer just the right mix.
Our international journey began 34 years ago when our International Development Division was created to share our expertise and help our neighbors around the world. Today, we work with local farmers and the private sector to build value chains, markets and food systems that bridge supply and demand to create lasting food security in emerging markets.

This decades-old development work has helped inform our commercial expansion in a number of emerging markets that provide new outlets for member production and new sources of growth that can be used to reinvest back home. A newly created International Business division is focused on two core strategies: create in-country assets through partnerships and acquisitions, and expand our export and licensing business—that maximize our effectiveness, minimize risk and create the greatest return on our investment. In 2014, our Global Dairy Ingredients business sold more than 220 million pounds of product into international markets, equaling more than 2.2 billion pounds of member milk.
The people and places
There’s a whole wide world out there, and it’s full of exciting ventures, entrepreneurial people and new opportunities. Here are just a few projects and partnerships we were proud to be a part of.
Leading by example

While enabling crop and dairy farmers to improve their agricultural practices is at our core, Land O’Lakes International Development Division places an equal emphasis on working with the private sector to build the value chains, markets and food systems that bridge supply and demand, and fuel the engine for sustainable development and lasting food security. Last year, we facilitated business development services for 5,751 enterprises, enabled 526 firms to improve their food safety and other practices and leveraged more than $13 million to enhance investments in agricultural and economic growth.

In Sri Lanka, through our USAID-funded VEGA/BIZ+ program, we are co-investing in the business plans of 36 enterprises to create 5,000 jobs for underemployed, conflict-affected communities, in industries like tourism, agribusiness and apparel, which is transforming the trajectory of formerly lagging economies. Through our USAID Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine, we are leveraging formal donor funds to invest in and scale up transformative agricultural innovations so that they will be suitable for venture capital and make a catalytic impact on improving food security.

Meanwhile, our USDA-funded Bangladesh Dairy Enhancement Program is partnering with local processors to co-invest in new milk collection centers, which will provide market linkages for our 17,000 client farmers, while maintaining the quality of raw milk.
A global partnership

A strong example of growing with our customers was our announcement of a partnership with Nestlé to provide feed and forage training, nutrition services and laboratory services at the Nestlé Dairy Farming Institute (DFI) in Shuangcheng, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, China. Partnerships like this one help us provide agricultural expertise to farmers around the world.

The 148-acre facility includes three training farms, replicating progressive farms, as well as a training center. This center is equipped with modern teaching facilities and laboratories to study fodder ingredients, digestive system, mineral substances, microorganisms, animal health and anatomy analysis.

The institute will educate local farmers on modern dairy farming skills. As partners, we’ve developed many of the standard operating procedures, training materials, forage trial protocols and feed and forage solutions.


Running better businesses
As we grow, we are also committed to helping our member-owners grow with us. Because of the size and scope of our system, we have the ability to deliver additional value and make a difference in our members’ businesses.

While our core services continue to help our member-owners produce the highest-quality milk, we began to look at ways to expand our services beyond the milking parlor. To better address the full scope of our dairy member-owners’ needs, we provided new risk management offerings, delivered value-added training and meetings and continued to invest in new insights and products.

Through the launch of a new training program, we gave member-owners a three-month head start on the new government-sponsored Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP). To reach as many as possible, the training included regional webinars, onsite meetings and individualized on-farm training. More than 75 percent of our dairy members chose to enroll in the MPP, surpassing the national level by more than 25 percent.

Over the past handful of years, we’ve defined the role we play in helping drive local cooperative success. We see ourselves as being in this together. We’re here to help our member cooperatives leverage the full spectrum of Land O’Lakes’ resources.

Our Ag Customer Team and Business Development Services help cooperative members drive business growth through recruitment efforts ranging from CEO/GM placement to college intern recruitment and sales development tools and programs. When it comes to everyday operations, our Strategic Asset Management team provides construction planning, business consulting and financing strategies to member cooperatives. In just over two years, they’ve initiated 52 projects including about $400 million worth of construction projects and 15 mergers and acquisitions in 15 states.