US agribusiness co-operative Land O’Lakes said today (13 August) that half-year earnings were flat on 2008, despite a 12% fall in revenues.

The dairy and egg processor booked net earnings of US$164.1m for the six months to June, which “matched” the company’s performance last year, it said. Sales were down 12.1% at $5.8bn.

President and CEO Chris Policinski said: “While Land O’Lakes is not immune to the stresses and challenges of a difficult economy, we are solidly positioned to deal with the challenges ahead.”

The group’s dairy foods business, however, reported falling sales and earnings for the first half of 2009.

Pre-tax earnings from the unit slumped from $39.7m to $0.1m due to lower commodity prices and a consumer shift to private-label products, Land O’Lakes claimed. Dairy foods sales were down 28.6% at $1.5bn.

A “significant slump” in the commodity egg market also hit the group’s layers and shell eggs business. First-half sales in eggs totaled $258m, compared to $320m for the first half of 2008. Pre-tax earnings reached $4.3m, down sharply from $43.3m for the first half of 2008.