Land O'Lakes reported Tuesday that earnings tripled in the first quarter, with improved profit across all divisions.

Arden Hills-based Land O'Lakes, one of the nation's largest co-operatives, recorded record first quarter earnings of $101 million, compared with $31 million in the year-ago quarter. Sales increased 13 percent to $3.47 billion.

Land O'Lakes said the strong results were driven by several factors, including improved agricultural markets, an ongoing company initiative to reduce costs and expand margins and "impressive" results from new products.

Spreadable tub butters, led by the recent introduction of Land O'Lakes butter with olive oil, have experienced double-digit growth, as have butter half-sticks, the company said.

Land O'Lakes' first quarter was led by its dairy foods segment, which also includes its cheese business, and its crop protection operation, which includes its AgriSolutions brand of herbicides, insecticides and seed treatments. Sales were also up in the co-op's livestock feed division, though sales were flat in its egg business, one of the nation's largest.

"Land O'Lakes is on a growth trajectory," CEO Chris Policinski said in a news release. "We're not growing just to get bigger. We are growing strategically to become more profitable and capitalize on opportunities that will position us for continued success."

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003