Land O’Lakes at SXSW: Innovating ag for a more sustainable, plentiful & profitable future

CTO Teddy Bekele joined a panel to discuss why it's important to unlock new opportunities that help the farmers and agricultural cooperatives who feed us.


The ag industry is no stranger to challenges, disruptions and rapid changes, from climate to supply chain to commodity volatility (and well beyond) -- which is why it’s more important than ever to prioritize innovation to unlock new opportunities that help the farmers and agricultural cooperatives who feed us.
At SXSW 2024, Land O’Lakes Chief Technology Officer Teddy Bekele discussed this topic alongside Mineral CEO Elliott Grant and Driscoll’s CEO Soren Bjorn on a fascinating panel titled, “Innovating Ag: Technology Transforms Our Oldest Industry.”
Teddy explained how Land O’Lakes’ approach to innovation is rooted in ensuring farmers harness new technologies and data for the benefit of all of us. The goal is to not only deliver important data, but pair it with unique insights, recommendations and selections that lead to the best outcomes and align with their needs – from soil to equipment.
As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes has a unique ability to innovate and provide value to farmers by combining our comprehensive data and scientific approach to crop management – and aligning it with our retail owners’ local expertise. Throughout the panel, Teddy shared examples of how Land O’Lakes is implementing technologies on dairy operations to drive business capabilities and help farmers “do more with less,” such as:

  • Maximizing day-to-day work by implementing robotic milkers to reduce labor dependency.
  • Making more informed decisions by leveraging AI to inform feeding rations for improved cow health.
  • Preparing for peak demand seasons by unlocking ways to expand the shelf life of dairy products.
  • Driving supply chain transparency by using AI and IoT to increase the quality and decrease the environmental footprint of products in a milk shed (which equates to about 40 dairy farms combined).

As Teddy shared live, agronomists are also key components of making this work actionable as they facilitate “the transformation for applying digital tools and tech…with agronomists being tech-savvy and helping farmers understand models.”
While there is a long journey ahead of the ag industry to implement these innovations at scale – and ensure equity is a key consideration while doing so – the panelists shared valuable perspectives and examples of how they’re supporting farmers around the world and ensuring we have a plentiful food supply for generations to come.
Learn more: You can listen to the recording of the panel session on