Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer at Land O'Lakes, Inc. sat down with Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, to discuss Land O'Lakes' nearly 100-year history in the dairy business in this episode of Dairy Innovator Dialogues.
Land O'Lakes, Inc. was founded in 1921 when 320 local farmers got together in St. Paul, Minnesota, to form a cooperative called Minnesota Creamery Association. Today, Land O'Lakes is a $16 billion, Fortune 200 company, with four business segments operating in 50 countries around the world.
Kaminski explained the role of technology in transforming the Land O'Lakes business.
"Of course, we're known as a butter company, but by the day we're becoming known as a technology company. To your point, farming really has become a tech-driven platform."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Kaminski said this transformation is evident in Land O'Lakes WinField business, which combines the best on-farm technology to give farmers the power to make the right decisions for their enterprise.
"WinField's a great example of technology and we do it in a number of ways. First, we have Answer Plots, and we have about 260 of these facilities around the country that we manage. We plant the crop and those sites where you have two purposes. One, we'll bring customers there and we'll show them the difference between certain seed and crop nutrient applications and the impact it has in that particular part of the country. But the other half of it is a learning laboratory, so we're taking tissue samples and building millions and millions of data points for that particular region. In addition, we supplement that with satellite technology, so a farmer can pick up his phone and we can map his field and we can tell him or her what application is necessary, what amount, what return, what costs, and what impact that can actually have on his yield over the course of the growing season. It's fascinating."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Kaminski said sustainability is a focus for Land O'Lakes because it harkens back to the cooperative's roots - its farmers.
"Farmers are the true environmentalists, right? Their livelihood is around their animals and their property, so we feel this is really part of the company."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Land O'Lakes' Sustain division uses current technology to allow farmers to make decisions to improve the sustainability footprint of their operation.
"This is a cloud based, predictive, prescriptive tool that will allow a farmer to make decisions based on hard science. Each decision has an outcome, whether it's profitability enhancement or improvement on their sustainability score. That's a fascinating tool."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Kaminski said Land O'Lakes has more than 300 international "dairy development" projects in 80 countries.
"What we're trying to do is enable people to better take care of themselves by providing them the infrastructure and the knowledge to engage in dairy. Dairy is a massive platform internationally. If you think about it, there are over a billion people, either directly or indirectly, involved in dairy production around the world."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Kaminski said Land O'Lakes is looking forward to continued growth in dairy, and that the company is doing a lot of work to proactively expand its portfolio.
"We're excited about dairy. In fact, there aren't many categories like dairy. If you look at US dairy, it's a $60 billion segment. It's growing, it's nutritious, it's relevant, it's flexible, it's driven by innovation."- Jerry Kaminski, chief operating officer, Land O'Lakes
Dairy Innovator Dialogues is a video and multimedia series presented by IDFA that goes behind the scenes with today’s most innovative dairy leaders and companies. View more from this series at idfa.org/dairyinnovates.