A man feeding calves in the barn

Meet one of the dairy farmers behind your favorite Land O’Lakes cheese

Amber Horn, a lifelong dairy farmer and six-generation owner of Hornstead Dairy, proudly contributes to Land O'Lakes' line of consumer cheese products.

Amber Horn has been a dairy farmer and a Land O’Lakes member-owner her entire adult life.
Her farm, Hornstead Dairy in Brillion, Wisconsin, has been in her family for six generations. For the last three of those, the farm has operated as a Land O’Lakes member, shipping milk to Land O’Lakes to be turned into cheese. 
Until recently, though, there wasn’t a tangible way for Amber to show that off – for a long time, Land O’Lakes only produced cheese for commercial use – restaurants, food manufacturers, schools, etc. – which means our cheese wasn’t available for individual consumers to buy.
That all changed two years ago. In 2022, Land O’Lakes launched a dairy case cheese line in grocery stores across the country, including in Amber’s home state. In those two years, the product line now features 25 varieties and is sold in more than 3,000 stores throughout the Midwest and Northeast regions.
Now, when Amber walks through the grocery store or has a tour come through her farm, she can point to a block of cheddar or a bag of shredded cheese with the Land O Lakes logo on it and say her farm’s milk goes into those products. Being from Wisconsin, the cheese capital of the country, she says there are extra bragging rights that come with that.


“It's a point of pride. I love the fact that we can point to something and say ‘that's ours,’” Amber says. “It gives you a little flavor of what it means to be a member to see the end product.” 
That pride is felt throughout the cooperative system. Each year, more than 1,000 Land O’Lakes farmer-owners produce about 13 billion pounds of milk, some of which is then shipped to the dairy facility in Kiel, Wisconsin to be turned into award-winning cheddar or other kinds of cheese.
Tim Stearns, master cheesemaker at that facility, says he and his team have a passion for making cheese, and they work hard to make sure that their effort reflects that of the dairy farmers.
“It’s amazing to be able to work for this company and to make an award-winning product for the farmers,” Tim says.
And from there, it’s then sent to be packaged and sold at grocery stores and markets through the Midwest and Northeast. Before 2022, when Land O Lakes cheese was mostly sold to commercial kitchens, restaurants and other businesses, customers didn’t necessarily know where their cheese came from, or that farmers such as Amber and cheesemakers such as Tim were the ones behind the scenes.
Now, customers know when they purchase Land O’Lakes cheese products, they’re supporting the farmers who work every day to produce the milk that goes into it. Heather Anfang, Dairy Foods president, says the success of the expansion into the dairy case cheese sector is a testament to the passion of the whole Land O’Lakes ecosystem that makes the cheese, and that our cooperative model resonates with consumers.


"From our member-owner farms to the facilities where the product is made, to home kitchens where it’s enjoyed, there's a lot of pride that goes into Land O'Lakes’ dairy case cheese,” Heather says.
Amber says that pride extends beyond just the end product, too – it emanates throughout her family’s entire operation.
“The work is very meaningful and rewarding, and when you take pride in what you take care of, whether it’s the land, your cows or your community, it’s a labor of love,” Amber says. “I've never really thought of it as work – it's my life.”