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LAND O'LAKES REPORTS ITS BEST YEAR IN HISTORY

 LAND O'LAKES REPORTS ITS BEST YEAR IN HISTORY
 MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Land O'Lakes, Inc. reported


1991 earnings "reached the highest level in its history," to the more than 3,000 delegates and guests attending the cooperative's 71st annual meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.
 Ron Ostby, Land O'Lakes group vice president and chief financial officer said the cooperative's 1991 net earnings increased more the 40 percent over 1990 to $53.8 million. This, he said, was due to "good results in each of the company's four core businesses -- Dairy Foods, Feed, Seed and Agronomy." Net sales of $2.5 billion were slightly above those of 1990. A comparison of earnings by business unit to the previous year's earnings showed that profitability in Dairy Foods and Agronomy improved substantially, while earnings in Feed and Seed remained strong but dropped slightly.
 A continued emphasis on retail feed sales by local cooperatives contributed to an overall gain in the number of animals in the Midwest on Land O'Lakes feeds, Ostby noted. Record seed corn and soybean seed sales, along with Land O'Lakes traditional strength in forages, contributed to the Seed division's good year-end results. The jointly owned Cenex/Land O'Lakes Agronomy Co. recorded its second straight year of growth in profitability. And the Dairy Foods group's substantial increase in earnings over last year was credited primarily to a more stable wholesale cheese and dairy market.
 Ostby noted that strong cash flow is vital to the strength of Land O'Lakes, and that the cooperative witnessed a continuing improvement in cash flow in each of its core businesses in recent years -- a trend that was maintained in 1991.
 Improved cash flows over the past two years have created a significantly stronger balance sheet. At year-end, Land O'Lakes reported total assets of $823 million and total equities of $300 million. Ostby said, Land O'Lakes improved financial condition gives the cooperative the ability to respond positively to growth opportunities; access lower cost capital; and return greater amounts of cash to farmer-owners.
 In 1991, Land O'Lakes Board of Directors authorized cash payments to members totalling $29.4 million -- the highest in the cooperative's history, and up $7.2 million from 1990. The amount returned to members in 1991 was equal to 79 percent of Land O'Lakes net earnings in 1990. These cash payments to members continue a very favorable five-year trend. The increased payments to members reflects a commitment by Land O'Lakes board and management to improve cash returns as Land O'Lakes positive financial condition warrants.
 Land O'Lakes is a Twin Cities-based food and agricultural cooperative owned by farmers, ranchers and local cooperatives in 15 states. It provides agricultural supplies to more than 1,600 local cooperatives serving 300,000 farmers, and it procures milk from more than 6,000 Upper Midwest dairy producers. The cooperative is widely recognized for the more than 600 food products it markets in the United States.
 -0- 2/26/92
 /CONTACT: Terry Nagle of Land O'Lakes, 612-481-2271 or 612-335-6811 (2/25-26)/ CO: Land O'Lakes, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: SU: ERN


AL -- MN003 -- 2610 02/26/92 02:06 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 26, 1992
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