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Land O'Lakes + 60 Minutes: Why tech is key to our farmers' survival

Here's how Land O'Lakes and its forward-looking farmers face challenges head on by leaning into tech and a unique ownership model

Land O'Lakes + 60 Minutes: Why tech is key to our farmers' survival


Predictive modeling. Satellite imagery. Research and development laboratories. Troves of agricultural data and the sophisticated platforms to put it to use. This kind of tech isn't usually associated with a co-op -- the kind of ownership model that unfairly feels old-fashioned or of a bygone era. But Land O'Lakes, Inc. isn't an ordinary kind of company. And its farmers and member-owners aren't an ordinary kind of shareholder. 

And that's exactly what 60 Minutes (and a good chunk of America) discovered in a segment released Oct. 6. Owned by thousands of farmers and affecting half the farmland in America, Land O'Lakes' understands the difficulties facing farm country. And its our job to make sure anyone who cares about the climate, who cares about our economy -- and anyone who cares about what they eat -- understands just how forward-thinking, innovative and strategic farmers are. They want their farms (and their co-op) to not just survive, but thrive, for the next generation.

And agricultural technology is a huge part of the path forward. With only 2 percent of the U.S. population directly involved in farming, most don't know how tech-forward a modern farming operation is:

"You take this prescription, and you put it into the planter -- and it plants it according to this prescription."
-- Chief Technology Officer Teddy Bekele

"I think people have this old school view of farming as slower than, less than, smaller than ... and they're not -- they're very sophisticated business people. They are very tech savvy. They have to be, to withstand this kind of market pressure."
-- CEO Beth Ford

And it's not just technology that's transforming ag for future generations. More than 1/3 of farmers in America are women, a point Lesley Stahl raised with member-owner Amanda Condo.

"Yeah because, I mean, that's the typical stereotype, right?" she said. "It's -- it's the man; the man is the farmer."

Want to explore more stories from and about our Land O'Lakes member-owners? All things farmer-owned can be found here.


About Land O'Lakes, Inc. 
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2018 annual sales of $15 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 212 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 98 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands and businesses in agriculture and food production including Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.

4001 Lexington Avenue North Arden Hills, MN 55126 | Mailing: P.O. Box 64101 St. Paul, MN 55164-0101 | 651.375.2222