Land O’Lakes continues year-over-year growth in Q1 2017 and gears up for 2025 sustainability targets

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Land O' Lakes posted another quarter of year-over-year growth for Q1 2017. Photo: Land O'Lakes
Land O' Lakes posted another quarter of year-over-year growth for Q1 2017. Photo: Land O'Lakes

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Following a high earnings year in 2016, Land O’Lakes still posted solid gains of $110m in net earnings increasing to $3.7bn for Q1 2017. 

Earnings in dairy foods division, which includes the company's Land O’Lakes brand, were driven by strong volumes in foodservice and improved margins in retail-branded products.

“Overall first quarter performance for 2017 continues the trend of year-over-year growth for our organization despite increased complexity and headwinds across the marketplace,”​ Land O’Lakes president and CEO, Chris Policinski, said.

Land O’Lakes first quarter earnings benefitted from the acquisition of US specialty cheesemaker Vermont Creamery​ in March 2017 for an undisclosed amount. The purchase of Vermont Creamery by Land O’Lakes was based on both companies’ value-added, branded approach to market products, DairyReporter previously reported.

Farm-to-fork focus

The company said it is committed to achieving environmental sustainability across the agricultural value chain and has partnered with Walmart in a new platform called Project Gigaton – an initiative aiming reduce greenhouse gas emission from Walmart suppliers’ operations and supply chains.

“Our growing focus spans our farm-to-fork view of the marketplace as we continue to invest in value-added innovation in all four of our business units,”​ Policinski said.

One of its business units, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN has committed to addressing 100% of its farmer member milk supply by focusing on improvement of enteric emissions and yield potential, which includes greenhouse gas emissions manure systems.

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN plans to meet this commitment by equipping famers and ag-retailers with insights, technology, and tools to implement and track on-farm sustainability practices. Land O’Lakes is working on a public-private partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture designed to assist with water and soil conservation.

The company’s target is to reduce 10m metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

New financial leadership

In late April 2017, the Minnesota-based dairy company also appointed former chief accounting officer and treasurer, Bill Pieper, as the new CFO, replacing Dan Knutson who departs after 10 years in the position. Piper will report directly to Policinski.

“[His] strategic financial management mindset has and will continue to support Land O’Lakes’ strong growth trajectory,”​ Policinski said in a statement. 

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