Arden Hill, Minnesota
Land O’Lakes Chief Financial Offi cer Dan Knutson acknowledges that most people think of their brand simply as “the butter company.” But company factories across the country also churn out deli cheese, eggs, branded dairy-based food service products, lifestyle and livestock feed, and wholesale seed and crop protection products. In fact, “the butter company” is the largest wholesale distributor of seed and chemicals in the United States.
With 9,000 employees doing business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperative enterprises. And a cooperative of that size needs a strong, dependable banking partner with the capacity to handle its debt capital needs.
“CoBank understands us,” says Knutson. “They understand agriculture and what we stand for, and that allows them to represent us appropriately in the marketplace. So when CoBank approached us this past year with a refi nancing package, we knew we were in good hands.”
Jacquie Fredericks, managing director of CoBank’s Capital Markets Division, notes that in 2011, favorable market conditions and higher commodity prices presented an opportunity for a refi nancing package of more than $1 billion.
“The Farm Credit System played a key role in the financing, as did a number of prominent commercial banks,” Fredericks says. “But overall we were able to take the lead and offer very favorable terms, which made this deal good for Land O’Lakes and for investors.”
“CoBank is always there when we need them – in hard times as well as good times,” says Pete Simonse, Land O’Lakes vice president and treasurer. “Over the years, we’ve really come to trust their judgment.”