Land O'Lakes Inc. today said net sales were $3.9 billion for the second quarter, up 8% from $3.6 billion for the same quarter last year. The Arden Hills, Minn.-based cooperative also reported that net sales for the first half of the year were $8.1 billion, up 8% from $7.5 billion for the first half of 2012. Net earnings for the second quarter were $76.9 million, up 63% from $47.2 million last year. First half net earnings totaled $148.5 million, up 12% from $132.1 million during the same period last year.

Land O'Lakes is the largest dairy cooperative on the 2013 Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' annual ranking of the largest dairy processors based in the United States and Canada. Overall, the company ranks fifth, with dairy-related revenues of $4.2 billion in 2012. The new Dairy 100 list will be published in the August issue of the magazine, and will be online later this month.

"We are pleased with our mid-year results, which were driven by our strategy of more aggressive investment in a variety of growth initiatives," said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes.

Sales increases during the second quarter were achieved in all three core businesses, which include Dairy Foods, Crop Inputs (WinField) and Feed (Purina Animal Nutrition). First half sales were improved in all business segments, including Layers.

Earnings improvements year-on-year have been driven mainly by Dairy Foods, which had been negatively impacted in the first half of 2012 by an unexpected and exceptional growth in milk supplies and falling product prices. Recent company transactions also contributed significant earnings including the acquisition last year of Kozy Shack refrigerated desserts and the investment in Eggland's Best LLC, a branded premium egg joint venture.

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