In our 100 years of being a farmer-owned co-op, we’ve seen our share of ups and downs -- from flooding to drought, from The Great Depression to the ’08 recession and everything in between. Even so, we’ve never experienced a year like 2020.
Despite all the disruption, supply chain challenges and workforce challenges that ensued worldwide as a result of COVID-19, our cooperative model worked the way it should. We ended the year with a solid balance sheet and strong performance across our businesses.
Explore our 2020 Annual Report right here
Today, Land O’Lakes, Inc. reported net sales of $13.9 billion and net earnings of $266 million in 2020. The figures represent an increase of more than $59 million as compared to 2019 -- that’s a boost of almost 30%.
The earnings increase was driven by improved performance across our dairy and animal nutrition businesses. Meanwhile, our crop inputs and sustainability businesses invested in valuable products and collaborations to weather crises of the future.
We worked hard to keep grocery shelves stocked with our dairy retail products, including butters, spreads and Kozy Shack. Our specialty dairy business, Vermont Creamery, grew with the influx of home cooks becoming bolder and integrating specialty products into their menus. By the end of the year, Vermont Creamery was one of the fastest growing brands in the specialty dairy category.
During the height of the pandemic, we found homes for all of our members’ milk, so not a drop would be wasted.
Animal nutrition earnings increased due to growth in all lifestyle species, including backyard flocks. We invested in e-commerce platforms for brands like Purina and Nutra Blend in order to ensure that customers were able to get the products they needed.
To meet customers’ needs in a new way, we shifted special events to virtual platforms due to the pandemic. This allowed the business to triple the number of customers who were able to meet with our research and development experts to learn about the latest research in cattle, dairy, swine, equine and show animals -- driving awareness, brand loyalty and sales.
Truterra, in combination with WinField United, delivered services that help growers address the world’s climate crisis while maintaining profitable and productive acres — future-proofing farmers’ and ag retailers’ businesses.
Our conservation experts have long embedded with ag retailers; in July, we entered an alliance with Microsoft to enhance the tools that support sustainable agriculture.
In addition to our business’ performance, we also focused on supporting our members, their families and their neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly $2 million of matching support was distributed to the communities of Land O’Lakes’ members and employees, over 660,000 pounds of in-kind product that was donated to food banks and a donation of $25,000 to support the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund in the wake of COVID-19.
In addition, through our own processing facilities, agricultural retailer network and many organizational partners, we helped provide free, public Wi-Fi access at over 2,800 locations in 49 states in 2020, giving many local residents needed access to carry out remote work, school and even medical appointments while remaining socially distanced.
We look forward to pioneering long-term solutions that foster more vibrant communities, stronger economies and greater access to food, healthcare and education, everywhere.
More information about the company’s 2020 performance can be found at www.landolakesinc.com/investors.