Land O’Lakes CIO Mike Macrie Enables The Digital Farm

July 11, 2016
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by Peter High, published on Forbes


Mike Macrie was in the inaugural class of the Forbes CIO Innovation Award. Learning about his remarkable story as a revenue-driving chief information officer of the $15 billion agricultural-cooperative was fascinating. I recently spent more time with him in his office just north of St. Paul, Minnesota, and learned more about his remarkable rise.

Macrie became CIO of Land O’Lakes in his mid-30s, and his progressive use of technology befits someone of his young age. He has embraced digital technologies both as a means to render the operation more efficient, but also to aid farmers, as he details in this interview. In this wide ranging interview, he highlights his priorities, and the trends he thinks will drive ongoing innovation at his company and in the industry more broadly.

(To listen to an unabridged audio version of my conversation with Mike Macrie, please click this link.)

Peter High: Mike, your CEO, Christopher Policinski mentioned that the digital transformation of the business “Demonstrates Land O’Lakes leadership and is helping to build the farm of the future with cutting edge concepts and technologies”. Can you tell us a bit about the methods you are using and the roles that IT is playing in that digitization.

Mike Macrie: In our IT organization here at Land O’Lakes we are working with our business leaders and everyone out in the field to help our membership-which is farmers and agricultural retailers-transform the way they think about technology. Everything from operations to the way they trade, and deal with their customer. It effects every aspect of everything they do, and many aspects of everything we do here. The one that’s the most exciting though, is how technology is transforming what happens on the farm. I think we are just at the beginning of that, but at Land O’Lakes we want to be a leader in that space. We believe we help farmers with decisions in agriculture-in the way they grow, make decisions in planting, and make decisions in environmental questions. We believe that technology is going to radically change the way they make those decisions in the future and we want to be in the forefront of that

High: You mentioned a variety of constituents here, you have growers, agricultural retailers and your colleagues. Can you talk about the process of leading them through some of the changes you are describing?

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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