Investing in the future of dairy

In the face of inflation, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and other market challenges facing the dairy industry, Land O’Lakes, Inc. continues to invest in improving our plants, developing on-farm sustainability programs and launching new products

Land O'Lakes, Inc. Member Services Graphic

Melrose Plant to get makeover in multi-year project 

The Land O’Lakes dairy manufacturing plant in Melrose, Minnesota will soon undergo a multi-year project to modernize the milk receiving building. Some of the upgrades include updating automated sanitation systems, adding three new bays and remodeling the current bays to achieve a total of six bays when complete. The six bays will be wider to reduce congestion and will create easier access for today’s larger-sized trucks. 

The Melrose Plant Manager, Tom Slavick, says the plant was built in the late 1960s, so his team is excited about streamlining and addressing key needs of the facility during this project.  

“This work will help our facility become more efficient and modern,” Tom said. “The updates to our lanes will help reduce unloading times for trucks and prevent bottlenecking. And we’ll be able to more efficiently clean the trucks and our piping system.”  

Tom added that he’s grateful for Land O’Lakes’ investment to help the Melrose plant continue to be a viable and efficient outlet to provide a home for our members’ milk, especially given today’s operating environment.  

“Even through tough economic times and challenging markets, to have an investment like this shows the commitment by Land O’Lakes to the business, the members and the facilities,” Tom said.  

The renovations are expected to begin at the end of summer and last through most of 2024. 

Demonstrating scalable sustainable farming  

In 2021, Land O’Lakes partnered with Bel Brands USA on a 3-year pilot program to support the adoption of sustainable farming and animal feed production methods to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Just one year later, the program has yielded meaningful results including a carbon sink of 784 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per acre per year and acknowledgment of its potential scalability by receiving the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Outstanding Supply Chain Collaboration Award.  

We talked to the owner of Boadwine Dairy, a farmer member of Land O’Lakes, about why he wanted to get involved. 

“As the world industrializes, it’s inevitable we are having an impact on the climate. The neat part about agriculture is there is constant opportunity to adapt and do good for the environment.” 

While work on Boadwine Dairy is just the beginning, the success to date has shown that this is a scalable way to drive positive climate outcomes while supporting farmers through mitigating the risk of practice changes and creating new potential revenue and market opportunities. In 2022, the program is expected to expand to include five additional farms ranging in size from 450 to 2,000 cows.  

Dairy case cheese expands to Wisconsin 

Land O Lakes® Cheese products can now be found in the dairy case section of Wisconsin grocery stores with the launch of seven new products in select retailers. Wisconsin farmers supply the milk that is shipped to the Land O’Lakes Kiel, Wisconsin plant, where it is made into award-winning cheese. The launch in Wisconsin follows an initial roll-out at retailers in Minnesota and is part of a longer and broader launch strategy for dairy case cheese. 

Land O’Lakes Wisconsin farmer-member Amber Horn Leiterman, who farms with her family near Brillion, Wisconsin, is excited to have the branded cheese in her local grocery store. 

“We’re proud to have cheese with the Land O Lakes brand in the dairy case section of the grocery store,” said Amber. “We are very active in our community and are always getting the question of where to buy the products that come from milk on our farm – and now we can point to the cheese in the dairy case section at our local store. We love being a part of the Land O’Lakes co-op because of the sense of community – and now we feel like we are showing up in our community that much more.” 

Butter, but make it a ball

One of the most exciting products for Land O’Lakes this year – Butter Balls – offers delicious butter you love in an easy-to-use, half-tablespoon ball. Inspired by consumers who picked up cooking during the pandemic, Butter Balls are available now in select grocery stores across the Midwest.  

Throughout the pandemic, the Land O’Lakes innovation team worked to create solutions in the kitchen for the millions of Americans who were cooking at home more frequently. Recognizing that almost 75% of U.S. consumers want to continue preparing meals after the pandemic, the team wanted to make at-home meals easier, even as life starts to return to normal.  

“Innovation is core to Land O’Lakes, and we see this product as the answer to the convenience consumers crave while staying true to the great product they rely on – sweet cream butter,” said Heather Anfang, U.S. Vice President of Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods.  

Interested in trying Land O Lakes® Butter Balls? Check out our where to buy link to find it in a store near you.  

Looking toward the future

While no one can predict the market challenges the upcoming months or years will bring, our teams at Land O’Lakes will continue to invest in projects and partnerships that reinforce our cooperative’s commitment to creating, shaping and strengthening market opportunities for our member-owners.