A Worker Outside A Land O'Lakes Manufacturing Facility

What is farmer-to-fork?

It starts with how we were founded -- as a farmer-owned cooperative

You may have heard of the term “farmer-to-fork” or “farm-to-table” from the restaurant world. In dining, the term describes a direct relationship between a farmer and a restaurant or chef, emphasizing local and sustainable food sources.
At Land O’Lakes Inc., we apply a farmer-to-fork perspective to our business model. It starts with how we were founded -- as a farmer-owned cooperative.

Farmers from the start

In 1921, we were founded by 320 dairy farmers, then known as the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association. Ever since, we’ve continued to run as a cooperative -- an association of members who jointly own the business, and who are farmers and ag retailers themselves.
The cooperative (co-op) model is known for its economic resilience through good times and in bad, because its members stick together. And, the profit that the co-op makes is reinvested into its members’ communities through programs and services.
Our farmer-owned roots inform our work in every step -- from the farm and rural communities, through the supply chain and in global markets that help strengthen our food supply, to foodservice and grocery retail, and, finally, on your plate.

On the farm

We work together with farmers and their ag retailers to help them make a tangible impact on the sustainability of our food system through ag tech and member services.
For example:

  • With partners like California Bioenergy, we’re expanding the use of on-farm digesters, which create renewable fuel.

  • We foster innovation in livestock feed through research at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, so farmers and producers can create a healthy, more productive diet for their animals.

  • Our member service programs are helping our members and their communities connect to supplemental work opportunities, health care and mental health counseling.

  • Tech: Pull from ag-tech blog “modern tools” “sustainability”

In the food system

  • We help distribute and process farmers’ milk so not a drop is wasted.

  • With partners Microsoft and Uber Freight, we’ve worked to create a more efficient supply chain for our ingredients.

  • We’re expanding international business in emerging markets. 

At your table

Our co-op connection makes us more than a butter company, but we’re still proud of our dairy products — and we’re improving them every day.

  • We recently scaled up our Vermont Creamery business, getting goat cheese and mascarpone into grocery stores nationwide.

  • In 2018, we were named Hershey’s Supplier of the Year based on our sustainability and cost savings.

  • Telling farmer-owned story on packaging “industry leading butter.”

Learn more

Listen to our Something Greater podcast and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.