Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
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Cows on the farm are milked three times per day and their udders are automatically washed and disinfected to help keep them healthy.Photograph by Peter Bohler for Fortune
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Land O'Lakes farm in Lancaster, PA. May 2014
Cows on the farm are milked three times per day and their udders are automatically washed and disinfected to help keep them h
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Portraits of the 500: Inside a Land O’Lakes dairy farm

Updated: Jun 16, 2014 8:35 PM UTC | Originally published: Jun 11, 2014

In 1921 a few hundred dairy farmers founded Land O’Lakes in St. Paul after figuring out a way to create a longer-lasting butter. Today the farmer-owned cooperative comprises some 3,600 independent owners making 600 dairy products per year from 13 billion pounds of milk. Its offerings--including butter, cheeses, and even Purina animal feed--are sold in more than 60 countries. The farm below, in Lancaster, Pa., is home to 1,000 cows, which are milked three times a day. Their udders are automatically washed, disinfected, and dried, providing for healthier cows and higher-quality milk. When they’re done, a push of a button (by a human) allows the cows to exit the milking parlor and get back to grazing. In 2013, Land O’Lakes (No. 199 on the Fortune 500) churned out $14.7 billion in revenues.