New Land O’Lakes CEO Turns to Tech, AI and Data to Grow Farm Co-Op

December 5, 2018, 7:10 PM UTC

You might think that Land O’Lakes is an old-line dairy company. After all, it’s been providing butter and cheese for nearly 100 years and it is an agricultural cooperative owned by some four thousand farmers.

But Beth Ford, the new CEO of Land O’Lakes , is quick to dispel what she calls “the old view about what farming is about.” She describes the co-op’s farmers as “innovators” who are demanding new “tools for technology for new products.”

Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Land O’Lakes is ranked number 216 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest companies in America with revenues of nearly $14 billion. Besides dairy products, Land O’Lakes produces animal feeds, develops and sells seeds including alfalfa, corn, and soybeans; and provides animal nutrition products through the Puriana brand.

Ford says farming is one of the “last ag retail sectors to be disrupted by technology” adding, “I see it as an opportunity.”

Like many business leaders these days, Ford is turning to data analytics and artificial intelligence to expand her business. She says people will soon be describing Land O’Lakes differently.

“I think they’re going to see us as an innovator, a technology company,” she says. “We’re going to surprise people.”

Watch the video above for more from my interview with Ford.






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