Land O’Lakes, Inc. reported net sales of $13.9 billion and net earnings of $266 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2020, compared to net sales of $13.9 billion and net earnings of $207 million in 2019. Net earnings improved $59.1 million compared to the prior year despite the economic challenges and volatile market conditions due to impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“While I’m proud of our performance, I am even more proud of the team that delivered it. In an evolving and difficult landscape, Land O’Lakes was able to perform,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “We focused on growth in a challenging environment by standing up e-commerce across the business units as everyone moved online, developing revenue options for farmers and working to offset significant market declines.”
Strong dairy earnings
Earnings strength in 2020 was driven by improved performance in dairy foods and animal nutrition businesses. Dairy foods earnings were higher due to strong sales of retail products including butters and spreads and Kozy Shack product lines, which more than offset volume declines in foodservice and the impacts of commodity market volatility.
Animal nutrition earnings were also higher due to growth in all lifestyle species – animals like backyard flock and horse – and improved performance in Premix.
Crop inputs earnings were lower as crop protection margins were compressed due to unfavorable product mix driven by grower buying decisions and basic manufacturers lowering prices. Crop Inputs showed improved performance in both its crop nutrition and international businesses while leveraging its investment in digital sales platforms to help its network of brick-and-mortar retailers avoid service disruptions throughout the pandemic.
Addressing the digital divide
The company also worked to address issues that directly affected its members, their families, and the communities in which they live. Under its American Connection Project, Land O’Lakes partnered with its ag retail network to turn on their Wi-Fi to provide free, public access at a critical time during the onset of the pandemic. Other partner organizations joined in the effort, delivering over 2,800 Wi-Fi locations in 49 states. In addition, more than 140 organizations joined with Land O’Lakes in advocacy efforts to close the digital divide.
Truterra, in combination with WinField United, delivered products and services to help growers be part of the climate change solution. This included making decision-support technologies like the Truterra Insights Engine available to more farmers, on more acres, embedding more conservation agronomy experts with local ag retailers, and fostering the market conditions to drive demand for stewardship. In July 2020, Land O’Lakes announced a multi-year alliance with Microsoft that includes pioneering new innovations in agriculture and closing the digital divide.
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