Improved margins at its dairy business and an “aggressive” investment strategy have propelled Land O’Lakes first-half earnings.

The US food and agribusiness company booked net earnings of US$148.5m, up 12% from $132.1m in the comparable period of last year. The company said profits were boosted by an improved performance from its dairy business, which saw margins hit last year by rising supply and falling consumer prices.

Land O’Lakes sales increased 8% in the half, climbing to $8.1bn. Sales gains were achieved across all of Land O’Lakes business segments: dairy foods, crop inputs, animal feed and layers.

“We are pleased with our mid-year results, which were driven by our strategy of more aggressive investment in a variety of growth initiatives,” president and CEO Chris Policinski.

Last summer the company acquired dessert manufacturer Kozy Shack. The group has also combined its business with Eggland’s Best LLC to form a branded premium egg joint venture.