David E. Johnson
For nearly forty years 2004 agribusiness laureate Dave Johnson has been working with and for farmers and ranchers devoting his professional life to ensure a strong future for U.S. agribusiness. As President and CEO of Cenex/Land O’Lakes Agronomy Company until 1998, Johnson’s leadership had a profound impact on creating crop efficiency to provide safe, high quality, low cost agricultural products for consumers throughout the world.
Growing up on his family’s farm near Taylors Falls, Minnesota, Johnson received his bachelor’s of science in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota in 1959. That same year he began his career with Cenex as manager of a fertilizer plant in northwest Minnesota. Over the next three decades he rose through the management ranks to senior vice president of operations, and, in 1987, was named president and CEO of the Cenex/Land O’Lakes Agronomy Company. Under his direction, the success of the Agronomy Company exceeded all expectations in terms of sales, profits, and technical leadership.
In his retirement Johnson continues to lead initiatives to help agriculture and agribusiness succeed, such as volunteering as an advisor in Tanzania, Africa, to assist farmers in establishing successful milk marketing cooperatives. In addition, he has served on numerous industry and non-profit boards including the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, the Agricultural and Food Sciences Academy, a board of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.