Editor's note: This story was originally published on June 18, 2018.
Land O'Lakes’ farmer members, including Ellis Kreider, play an important role in the creation of HERSHEY’s iconic milk chocolate Kisses and bars. Ellis, a fourth-generation farmer in Lancaster County, Pa., is proud to contribute fluid milk to the West Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where milk melds with chocolate – creating those delicious chocolate bars perfect for S’mores and the beloved Hershey’s Kisses.
Each week, Ellis delivers 60,000 pounds of fluid milk from his cows to the Hershey factory, which is located about 45 miles from his farm.
As a fourth-generation farmer, Ellis still works the land purchased by his great, great grandfather.
"My family and my kids, we all have a lot of pride in what we do, and we’re proud of the relationship with Hershey. Everybody in our area knows Hershey,” says Ellis. “It's neat to know our milk is going to a product people love and know so well."
Around Pennsylvania, 17,000 cows are milked daily to provide milk for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate products. When the fresh milk arrives, it’s blended with cane sugar, pasteurized and condensed through a process unique to Hershey that creates that one-of-a-kind flavor. It's then mixed with unsweetened chocolate to make that unmistakable Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.
When standing in a grocery store and looking at a Milk Chocolate bar or LAND O LAKES butter it's something Ellis takes time to point out to his family. "Definitely it is. I point it out and say, ‘That’s ours.’”
Partners in innovation
Land O'Lakes has a long-standing tradition of innovation and supporting innovative solutions with our farmer members and business partners. This year, we’re proud to have received Hershey's Supplier of The Year award.
"We both have a culture of food safety, quality and reliability,” says Jack Hoops, director of Strategic Customers with Land O'Lakes.” “That, and our shared focus on innovation are among the many reasons why our relationship continues to grow, even after more than 30 years of our companies doing business together.”
“The award represents our dedication to supporting Hershey in sustainability, customer service, cost savings and a deep focus on innovation.” says Jack.
In part, Land O'Lakes helped reduce costs while still delivering high quantities of fluid milk daily. All of which come from Pennsylvania and Maryland farms within 100 miles of the factory.
"We are proud to support the local dairy community through our relationship with Land O’Lakes. They have been a trusted, collaborative partner that has delivered a quality product and reliable service, which is why we were pleased to name them as our 2017 Supplier of the Year,” says Eric Boyle, Director Dairy Procurement at The Hershey Company.
Both Land O’Lakes and Hershey abide by the values of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program while focusing on creating quality products.
Land O'Lakes is a national leader when it comes to its co-op farms participating in the program. Back in Quarryville, Pa., where Ellis Kreider milks almost as many cows as the town has people, there is a satisfaction that comes from being a major milk provider.
"For the farmer it’s great that we have a relationship like this," says Ellis. "It’s a reliable source for us to have a home for our milk with Land O'Lakes and a reliable source for Hershey to get their milk.”
It is clear evidence of a sweet partnership for farmers and consumers alike.