Template:Otheruses Template:Infobox Co-operative Template:Refimprove Land O'Lakes is a US agricultural cooperative based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, focusing on the dairy industry. It is owned by 7,000 producers and 1,300 local cooperatives, who are each members. The company had annual sales over US$6 billion in Template:As of and directly employs over 6,000 workers. They are one of the largest producers of butter and cheese in the country.

History Edit


Land O'Lakes was founded in 1921 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, by representatives from 320 co-op creameries as the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association. This organization aimed to improve marketing and quality of butter, and thus increase the profitability of dairying. The Association developed and implemented the systematic inspection, grading and certification of butter from member creameries, resulting in greater uniformity of product. The improved quality and uniformity, and the reliability of its grading system, were touted in advertising materials. In 1924, the uniformly graded sweet cream butter was given the name "Land O'Lakes" after a contest, and the certificate forms used by the Association included the "Land O Lakes" marketing name (Minnesota's state nickname is "Land of 10,000 Lakes").

The name became so popular that the organization's public identity was often confused with its product name; thus, in 1926, the organization itself adopted the name "Land O' Lakes Creameries, Inc." and became synonymous with its product.

The company was often accused of unfair competition and false advertising in its early years, and compelled to defend its inspection and certification processes. Eventually, however, the sweet butter marketing strategy drove competitors either to match the quality of butter produced under the Land O' Lakes name or see their sales decline. Many competitors in the dairy products business copied the Land O' Lakes approach, and the certification of quality became a tried and true marketing technique in other product lines as well.

The Land O' Lakes company has grown through numerous acquisitions, and now has a large business in farm supply in addition to dairy.

The company is made up of four segments: Dairy Foods, Animal Feed, Crop Seed and Crop Protection and Layers (eggs). Dairy Foods markets and manufacturers butter and cheese to the industrial, retail, foodservice and international channels.


Dean Foods licenses the Land O' Lakes brand, selling creamers and fluid dairy products under the name.[1]


Butter packagingEdit

<span id="Trivia and folklore" />

Land O'Lakes butter packaging is familiar to U.S. consumers, and had a noticeable impact on 20th century U.S. culture.

  • The Land O' Lakes package was central to a prank practiced among American school children for many decades. First, the lower three sides of the box which the Indian girl holds in front of her are incised with a sharp knife, so as to make a flap which can be lifted. Then the lower part of the box can be rolled up so that the knees show through the opening, or the knees can be cut off of another image of the maiden (each box bore several images) then pasted to the reverse side of the first, cut-out image. When the flap is lifted, it appears that the girl's breasts are exposed. This was sometimes called the "Indian butter trick." The original painting of the Indian Maid hangs in the lobby of the Arden Hills office.
  • The Wacky Packages line of novelty cards, which mocked familiar products, featured butter, with a terrified maiden in a violently disrupted landscape.[2]
  • The package is an example of a recursive image, in which the image is repeated, in theory infinitely, within itself. See: Droste effect.


  1. 10-Q Quarterly Report for Dean Foods. Yahoo Finance. May 10 2007. Retrieved May 18 2007.
  2. Template:Cite web

Sources Edit

  • Kenneth D. Ruble, Men to Remember: How 100,000 Neighbors Made History (Lakeside Press, 1947), is a company-sponsored history of the early years of Land O' Lakes (1921-1945). See especially pp. 163-167 and 181-184, concerning the evolution of the name of the product into the company name.

External links Edit

Template:Minnesota Corporations

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