AgTech Industry Leaders: Mike Macrie, SVP & CIO, Land O Lakes

Mike Macrie, Vice President and Information Officer, Land O’Lakes, a key partner in the THRIVE Accelerator Program, tells Silicon Valley Global that the application of technology will be crucial to delivering the significant increase in food production which will be necessary to feed a growing global population.

It is one of the great conundrums facing the human race. How to produce more food for a steadily growing population without damaging the environment? It is a question that has for some time now preoccupied the minds of those involved with Land O’Lakes, Inc. including Mike Macrie who, back in the summer of 2013, was appointed the company’s new Vice President and Information Officer. He is well aware of the challenges that are involved. Close to 10 billion people are expected to need sustenance on this plant of ours by 2050. Just how that challenge is to be met has occupied the minds of Mike Macrie and his colleagues in Land O’Lakes for some time now. They know the proper use of technology will be a crucial factor in taking on the task; in solving a problem that could go a long way to saving millions of lives. It’s quite an ambition with the prize at the end of the rainbow nothing less than the salvation of mankind – and the plant – all at the same time. “Over the next 10 or 20 years we have to double our food production without any material increase in land. The UN is also projecting that access to water is going to go down for agriculture,” he told Silicon Valley Global magazine. “We have to use everything in our technology toolkit to produce more while using less. The aim is to optimize the yield of any type of production process yet at the same time do it in the most sustainable way for the environment. Farmers are out to produce more by using less input.”

Mike Macrie has not doubts that the intelligent use and development of innovative technology is critical to sustain that vision. “If we are going to feed the world, we need to leverage that is available to us and do it in such a way that enables us to be sustainable as well. That is where IT, robotics technology, genetic technology, efficiency technology all comes together to create a world where nobody goes hungry and we do it in a way that is not damaging to the planet!” Those ambitious objectives have resulted in Land O’Lakes moving into arenas of technology and big data with the full support of Mike Macrie. He has in other media interviews outlined how he believes a revolution is taking place in agriculture with the introduction of mobile, cloud and AI based technologies. The new technologies allow IT to be applied in American agriculture and he wants Land O’Lakes to be a leader in the modernization of that space. The adoption of a progressive, forward thinking strategy has resulted in Land O’Lakes working with technology companies in new and innovative ways.

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