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Land O'Lakes CEO: Farmers Mitigate Market Pressure with Technologyqrcode

Oct. 10, 2019

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Oct. 10, 2019
Beth Ford's company, Land O'Lakes, is in the Fortune 500, with $15 billion in annual revenue. But it's still an old-fashioned farmers' cooperative, founded almost 100 years ago. So rather than answering to Wall Street analysts, she reports to 4,000 farmers. ( Land O Lakes )

In an interview with Lesley Stahl from 60 Minutes over the weekend, Land O Lakes CEO Beth Ford addressed the struggles farmers are feeling. She also highlighted the expanding role cutting edge technology plays on the farm and how it’s helping farmers stay in business.

“You've got trade issues and tariff issues. You've got a changing consumer and what they want. I mean, there are so many variables right now pressuring farmers,” she said. “And this year, right now, the central issue for farmers is weather.”

During the interview, Ford took Stahl to a grain farm in Minnesota and a Pennsylvania dairy farm.

Land O Lakes member owners are no stranger to technology. In fact, they have a variety of new agriculture technologies at their fingertips and Ford said it’s one of the most profitable areas of their business.

“We use satellite technology. We use predictive models. We use all of the things that probably other businesses use but that people are unfamiliar with in terms of utilization in agriculture,” she said. “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 businesspeople, they are very tech savvy. They have to be to withstand this kind of market pressure.”

Watch the video and read the full show transcript here.

Included in the video segment is an explanation of the Winfield United’s R7 tool with Teddy Bekele, Land O Lakes chief technology officer. He explains, and then a farmer demonstrates, how precise placement of seed, fertilizer and crop protection products enhances yield, saves input dollars, and is part of environmental stewardship.

Lesley Stahl asked Ford and a Minnesota farmer in the interview: is this a farmer co-op or an ag technology company?

Another part of the interview highlighting livestock technology being used at a Pennsylvania dairy farm.

Full video available here.

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