Cargill Profile

Wednesday, February  17, 2010
Cargill sells Saskferco nitrogen production facility

It does not appear yet on Cargill's websites, but in late 2008, Cargill and the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan sold their joint enterprise, Saskferco, to Yara International of Norway for $1.8 billion. Saskferco was owned 51% by Cargill and 49% by the Saskatchewan goverment.  This appears to remove Cargill from direct fertilizer production.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cargill agrees Australasian fats acquisition

FPD, 11-Dec-2009

Cargill has entered into an agreement to acquire the edible fats and oils business of Goodman Fielder in Australia and New Zealand, which it says will aid efficient future growth in the region.

Goodman Fielder announced that it was looking to divest its fats and oils business in May, saying that the commercial industrial business did not fit comfortably with its predominantly retail-focused portfolio. Goodman Fielder is the largest listed food company in Australasia, producing a swathe of well-known grocery brands from bread and cake mix, to dressings and frozen pastry.

The A$240m (US$220m) purchase includes a ten-year supply arrangement between the two companies, in which Cargill will supply refined fats and oils for Goodman Fielder’s brands.

President and regional director of Cargill Asia-Pacific Bram Klaeijsen said in a statement: "We are very pleased that Goodman Fielder has chosen Cargill as a long-term partner for this important supply agreement. We are confident that with our advanced fats and oils technologies and broad food ingredients portfolio we will provide value to this partnership and our customers in the region."

The acquisition agreement involves four fats and oils refining facilities – in West Footscray in Melbourne, Murarrie in Brisbane, Bunbury near Perth and East Tamaki in Auckland, New Zealand.

Both companies have said that the collaboration will be beneficial for workers at the four plants.

Cargill’s Klaeijsen said: “By combining their talents with those of our Cargill people, we will create a strong team that can successfully serve customers and drive profitable growth.

"Overall, Goodman Fielder's Commercial Edible Fats and Oils business is an excellent complementary fit with our existing operations, product portfolio and capabilities.”

Goodman Fielder has also released a statement in which the company’s managing director Peter Margin highlighted the benefits for employees.

He said: “I am pleased that Cargill will be taking ownership of the business as this will be an excellent outcome for the business, for Goodman Fielder and for our loyal and hardworking people who will find a much better fit for their skills in a more comparable business.”

The acquisition is subject to a number of conditions, including approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Cargill said.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cargill growth and profit

Cargill reported has net earnings of $3.33 billion for fiscal 2009 ending May 31, down from a record $3.95 billion in the prior year. Revenues for the full year dropped 3 percent to $116.6 billion.

Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer, said Cargill's business diversity was a source of strength. "Operating in many industries and in many countries allowed us to cushion some of the downturn by serving areas of growth, particularly in developing economies that experienced smaller declines in their gross domestic products."

Cargill continued to reinvest globally in fiscal 2009, opening or expanding major processing facilities in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Ghana and the United States, strengthening its global supply chains in canola, cocoa, palm, soy and biofuels. The company employs 159,000 people in 68 countries. -, 18/8/09

“Cargill CEO Greg Page says he often learns more from his own company than from the media about what’s going on in the world, thanks to far-flung offices operating in 68 countries. Reports on everything fro crop progress to weather patterns, political uprisings, stranded ships and commodity prices stream into Cargill’s Minetonka, Minnesota, headquarters every morning from employees working in industries as diverse as grain, finance, biofuels and cocoa. The information often gives Cargill an edge as it works as the world’s middleman.” - ST, 19/8/09 – Being its hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star-Tribune has privileged access to Cargill and as a result is the best public source for Cargill insider news. We receive clippings from the paper regularly.

Cargill is to introduce its Ingeo bioplastics to Brazil, offering the food, cosmetics and other industries a new packaging material derived from sugar instead of petroleum. Since the formation of NatureWorks as a 50-50 joint venture between Cargill and Teijin, the plastics have been used by more than 100 brands in the US, Europe and Asia . On 1 July Cargill announced its acquisition of 100 per cent of the NatureWorks business, with the latter becoming am independent company within the wider Cargill fold. The bioplastics, made in Nebraska, are to be imported through the port of Santos and will be stored at Cargill’s centre in San Paolo. -, 7/7/09



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oilseeds in France

Cargill has opened a new rapeseed plant in Montoir, in western France, 5km from Cargill’s sunflower plant in Saint Nazaire. The plant will process up to 600,000 metric tones of rapeseed a year – most of which will be sourced locally. The output of Montoir will be 250,000 metric tones of rapeseed oil per year and 350,000 metric tonnes of protein-rich animal feed. Twenty-five per cent of the oil is be destined for food use, and the vast majority of this will be used for French food production

For Cargill, it represents an almost 50 per cent increase in its French oilseed capacity which previously stood at 1250,000 tonnes of rapeseed, soya and sunflower combined.
Cargill’s partner in the enterprise is Sofiprotéol, a financial holding company that exists to boost oilseed production in France. Cargill owns a 75 per cent of the new plant and Sofiprotéol 25 per cent, but as the major shareholder in the Montoir facility Cargill will take on managerial and operational responsibilities.

The non-food 75% of the rapeseed oil produced will be channeled directly to the Diester Atlantique esther plant next door, which is a subsidiary of Sofiprotéol and in which Cargill also has a minority share..

Cargill’s new plant is its third significant grain and oilseed location in France. Its facility in Brest works largely with soy, and that in Saint Nazaire, mainly with sunflower (it is said to crush about half of all the sunflowers crushed in France) -, 19/9/08

Sugarcane milling in Brazil

Cargill has partnered with Moema sugarcane agribusiness group in the Bom Jardim sugarcane mill, to be built at Itapagipe, Minas Gerais with investments of $370Rmil in the milling facility and other $130Rmil in plantations. Bom Jardim, owned on a 50/50 basis, is to process 2mil m tons of sugarcane per harvest, a capacity that can be easily doubled in the future. It would manufacture ethanol and also engage in co-generating of electric power.

Cargill is reportedly interested to buy stakes in other sugarcane mills from Moema,. Cargill’s onslaught in the sugar & ethanol agribusiness began in 2006, with the acquisitions of stakes in the plants Cevasa (63%) at Patrocinio Paulista (Sao Paulo), and Itapagipe (43,75) at Minas Gerais. – Valor Economico, 20/8/08

Palm oil in Malaysia

Cargill has commenced operations at its South East Asia Food Application Centre, in Kuala Lumpur. The new facility, which brings Cargill's refining, texturising and flavourings businesses, for all product categories, under one roof, is the company's third Malaysian plant.

Cargill already owns two Malaysian palm oil refineries, in Kuantan and Port Klang. While palm oil remains Cargill's core business in the market, Cargill has already set aside $1.5m to develop a shrimp hatchery in Pahang, its first ever aquaculture venture.

Malaysia is responsible for around 50% of global palm oil production and 60% of global exports.   , 1/10/08

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cargill expands in Poland

Cargill has completed the expansion of its Polish wheat processing facility, designed to meet consumer demand across the European bloc. This is the company’s latest expansion in Europe. In March it opened a new wheat processing plant in Manchester, UK, to produce wheat glucose for sweeteners, having transformed the plant from processing imported maize to processing domestic wheat.

Cargill lsaid the expansion of the Wroclow factory was carried out because Poland is a vital European centre for Cargill, and has been since 1991."We now employ nearly a thousand people in ten locations in the country, and Poland is a very significant country for Cargill's food and feed operations particularly in Eastern Europe."

The expansion to will allow the company to grind wheat on-site, which will then be used to produce sweeteners such as glucose and fructose for food industries such as bakery, confectionery and beverage.
The majority of these products will be exported throughout Central, Eastern and Western Europe. The company also claimed that, as in the UK, Cargill will support local farmers by sourcing the majority of its wheat in the region.

The company has also developed its ethanol line to provide wheat gluten for the food and animal feed industries, the majority of which is exported to the US. Vital wheat gluten is an insoluble protein that has been separated from the starch and other soluble components of wheat flour. It has a range of applications for the bakery market such as breads, rolls, pizza, tortillas, frozen foods, and noodles.

Cargill is one of the most prolific ingredients firms across the European bloc, with processing plants in countries such as France, Ireland, Spain and the Ukraine. Cargill was also one of the first Western corporations to attempt to penetrate the Eastern European market after the fall of communism, opening its first Russian office in the early nineties. Activities in the country now include the supply of food and agricultural commodities as well as financial market activities. – from, 24/4/08

For background on Cargill’s activity in Poland, see Invisible Giant, second edition, Zed Books, 2002, pp 70-72



Friday, March 07, 2008

Cargill buys Clark Cotton Malawi - 29 feb 2008

Cargill Cotton Limited has officially announced the acquisition of Clark Cotton Malawi Limited effective from last year. The development has led to a name change of the firm to Cargill Cotton Limited.

"Cargill is a private owned company based in the United States and they have acquired 100% of Clark Cotton Malawi but this deal was finalised last year and now we are implementing the name change," said the company’s country manager Frans Grey.

Cotton is Malawi’s third biggest export and the company buys and processes it locally before selling it to manufacturers within the country and abroad.
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"We are present in every cotton producing and consuming region of the world through our merchandising, ginning and warehousing operations. In Africa, our gins give us access to some of the finest hand-picked cottons in the world and in the United States our warehousing capacity exceeds 500,000 bales, assuring our customers throughout the world of efficient and reliable shipments. And, our merchandising of over 5 million bales annually gains revenues for our company of over one billion US dollars in most years. Cargill Cotton’s reputation for quality, reliability, size and leadership is unrivaled in the world cotton industry."

"Cargill Cotton is very proud to be one of the world’s largest and oldest cotton businesses."

USA - Cordova, TN
UK - Liverpool

Australia - Melbourne
"Cargill established a direct cotton marketing business in Australia in 2000. Cargill Australia serves cotton growers, ginners, buyers and textile mills worldwide. "

Brazil - Rondonopolis MT
China - Shanghai , Beijing
South Africa - Johannesburg
Zimbabwe - "Cargill Zimbabwe owns three cotton gins at Tafuna, Chegutu and Gweruwhich and process 30 percent of the country's cotton. This is run under the Cotton business unit. The cotton is exported to South Africa, Europe and the Far East. Cargill Zimbabwe is headquartered in Harare."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

 Cargill heirs

 Cargill MacMillan Jr is ranked together with Whitney MacMillan in 135th place in Forbes 2007 list of the 400 richest ‘Americans’ with $2.8 billion each from inheritance.

Cargill Canada

Cargill bought nine grain terminals this year, boosting its capacity by 40%. Dispensing of the terminals was part of the deal required with the formation of Viterra, the new company formed when Saskatchewan Wheat Pool bought out Agricore United earlier this year. As a result, Cargill will have 16-17% of the Canadian grain handling market. Viterra expects to hold about 40% of the market. As part of the deal forming Viterra, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool had to sell its North Shore terminal in Vancouver. Cargill was the buyer. Cargill CEO Len Penner says Cargill intends to continue its expansion in Canada and will double the capacity of its canola crushing operations at Clavet, Saskatchewan, next year. Cargill is the largest beef processor in Canada, primarily through its plant in High River, Alberta, but it also owns Better Beef in Ontario and processes 98% of the federally inspected beef in Ontario. Cargill Canada has sales of about $4.5 billion annually, with about 10,000 employees in Canada.


Thursday, March 15, 2007


SAO PAULO, Brazil, 7/3/07 --- Via Campesina activists invaded the Cevasa ethanol mill owned in part by Cargill on March 7, 2007. The Cevasa property is located in Patrocinio Paulista, roughly 300 kilometers north of Sao Paulo city. Cevasa is a joint venture with Cargill and other local partners. The invasion occurred on the day that US President George W. Bush was scheduled to arrive in Brazil to discuss ethanol with Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Cargill purchased 63% of Central Energetica Vale do Supucai Ltda, or Cevasa, last year. The mill, one of Brazil's largest, produces 1.4 million metric tons of sugar and 125 million liters of ethanol each year, according to Cargill. (Brazil is the world's No. 1 sugarcane producer and largest producer of sugarcane ethanol.)

The cane crop is still growing and no sugarcane is being crushed at this time. Sao Paulo sugar mills will go into production phase around April. "We're taking advantage of the fact that Bush is coming today to talk about ethanol and sugarcane to denounce the expansion of monoculture crops in Sao Paulo," said Soraia Soniano, a spokeswoman from the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST). "We took over Cargill because the company is a symbol of big transnational agribusiness," Soniana said.

Some 200 women from MST and Via Campesina invaded the Cevesa mill at 5:30 in the morning local time. Via Campesina put the total close to 900. "When the workers arrived three hours later, they saw us and turned around and went home," Soniano said.

At least four properties were occupied by Via Campesina and MST activists over the last 24 hours under the banner "Women Against Agribusiness". The movement is also part of the group's actions for International Woman's Day 2007, celebrated worldwide on March 8.  -- Dow Jones, 7/3/07

Monday, December 11, 2006

Coming and Going

– a profile of Cargill Canada’s complex of operations, drawn from the Cargill website, (accessed 11/12/06)

Cargill Foods operates a fully integrated beef processing facility, in High River, Alberta, with slaughter, fabrication, rendering and hide operations all under one roof. The plant processes 4,000 head of cattle each day. Approximately sixty percent of product is exported and forty percent is sold domestic.

Cargill Foods – Case Ready operates a multi-species case ready (ready for the retail meat case) meat packaging facility in Toronto, acquired 11 years ago. It was Cargill’s first case ready operation in North America and now produces case ready beef, pork, ground beef, poultry and sausage products.

Sun Valley Foods consists of a chicken processing plant in London, Ontario and a hatchery in Jarvis, Ontario. The plant processes 80,000 chickens each day. The hatchery on average produces 150,000 chicks per day, which are further processed at the London facility. Sun Valley is also expanding its frozen beef patty plant near Edmonton with the help of $1.5 million from the Government of Alberta. Cargill bought the former Caravelle Foods plant in 2004.

Cargill AgHorizons is the grain origination and crop inputs division of the Cargill, operating out of approximately 45 grain origination and crop input facilities in western Canada and 14 in Ontario. Cargill AgHorizons representatives help producers understand their costs of production, cash flow and storage needs and create a customized grain production and marketing plan for the producer. Cargill AgResource supplies crop production inputs and business management services to independent retailers throughout western Canada and on a limited scale in Ontario.

Cargill Animal Nutrition provides animal nutrition products and management consultation services to commercial livestock producers in western Canada .

Prairie Malt Limited, in Biggar, SK, supplies malt for beer production. Cargill became a joint venture partner in Prairie Malt Limited in 1998.

Cargill Specialty Canola Oils (CSCO) markets IMC (high oleic) varieties of canola oil under the Clear Valley® brand. CSCO used its expertise in research and biotechnology to develop canola varieties and hybrids.

Cargill Sweeteners supplies a variety of nutritive sweeteners, from corn syrups to sucrose to customized blends, used in beverages, baked goods, candies, cereals and prepared foods. Cargill's corn, waxy maize, and tapioca starches are used to thicken, texturize and coat diverse products from baked goods to meats to marshmallows.

Cargill Oil Seed’s facility in Clavet, Saskatchewan, is the largest soft-seed plant in North America, processing 2,400 tons of canola per day.

Saskferco Products, in Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan, is one of North America's largest producers of granular urea and anhydrous ammonia (from natural gas).

Cargill Salt is the world's largest marketer of salt products, including bulk de-icers, water-conditioning salt and consumer salt products.

Wilbur Chocolate, Burlington, Ontario, produces chocolate and confectionery products for commercial use. The business also functions as the sales office for Gerkens Cacoa, also a Cargilll company.

Egg Solutions Inc. is a joint venture, located in Etobicoke, Ontario, combining the expertise and reputation of Global Egg Corporation, a leading further processed egg supplier, with the innovation of Cargill’s Sunny Fresh Foods, a technologically advanced egg processor. The high-tech facility serves food manufacturers and foodservice companies with Egg Solutions Extended Shelf Life (ESL) refrigerated egg products, fully cooked egg entrees including omelet’s and egg patties, diced eggs and pre-cooked scrambled eggs.

Cargill Power and Gas Marketing is our North American natural gas trading operation based in Calgary. CPGM also markets and trades electricity, weather derivatives, coal and other commodities.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Brazilian Soy Industry Announces Initiative Designed To Curb Soy-Related Deforestation in the Amazon

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, July 24, 2006-- Cargill and other leading Brazilian soy processors and exporters have announced an agreement designed to curb deforestation in the Amazon due to soy planting. The centerpiece of the agreement is a pledge that “we will not purchase soy from lands in the Amazon biome that are deforested after July 24, 2006, beginning with the crop that will be planted in October 2006.” The moratorium is intended to alleviate soy-related development pressure on the Amazon.


The ASSOCIAÇÃO BRASILEIRA DAS INDÚSTRIAS DE ÓLEOS VEGETAIS – ABIOVE (Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries), the ASSOCIAÇÃO NACIONAL DOS EXPORTADORES DE CEREAIS – ANEC (National Association of Grain Exporters) and their respective members are committed to the implementation of a governance program whose objective is to not trade soya from the crop that will be planted as of October 2006 that comes from areas within the Amazon biome that are deforested after the date of this announcement.

This initiative, which will last for two years, seeks to reconcile environmental conservation with economic development, through the responsible and sustainable use of Brazil’s natural resources. During this period, the sector is committed to working with Brazilian government entities, and entities which represent rural producers and society to:

a) Prepare and implement a plan that includes an effective mapping and monitoring system for the Amazon biome or based on the official map of the corresponding area received from the Federal Government;

b) Develop strategies to encourage and move soya producers to comply with the Brazilian Forest Code;

c) Work together with interested sectors to develop new rules on how to operate in the Amazon biome, collaborating with the Brazilian government and getting them to define, apply and comply with public policies (economic-ecologic zoning) regarding land use in this region.

The sector reiterates its repudiation of slave labor and companies have incorporated into their soybean purchase contracts a clause allowing a breach of contract if it transpires that the seller used labor analogous to slavery. –

It must be noted that Cargill’s do-good soy operations in Amazonia have been aided and abetted by The Nature Conservancy. In Janauary, 2005, Cargill made a $1 million gift to The Nature Conservancy to support conservation and sustainable agriculture initiatives in three sites: China’s northwest Yunnan province, Brazil’s Amazon region, and along the Mississippi River in the US. “The two-year grant will help the Conservancy develop further capabilities and expertise in its work to protect some of the most biologically diverse ecosytems in the world, promote environmental awareness, and foster best practices around sustainable agriculture and economic development.”

Cargill’s announcement said, “Cargill’s grant, along with matching funding from the British government, will support Conservancy efforts in Brazil’s Amazon region to increase awareness and use of agricultural best practices among soya producers and help promote sustainable economic development in a region that is experiencing rapid agricultural development.”

Cargill in Canada

July 20, 2006– Cargill, through its subsidiary Horizon Milling LLC (jointly owned by Cargilll and CHS Inc. But controlled be Cargill) has agreed to purchase the Canadian grain-based foodservice and industrial businesses of Smucker Foods of Canada Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of The J. M. Smucker Company of the US. The Smucker Company acquired the Canadian grain-based foodservice and industrial businesses as part of its International Multifoods acquisition in 2004. The Smucker Company will continue to market and distribute Robin Hood® branded products through Canadian retail channels, including Robin Hood flour. The businesses being bought by Horizon/Cargill include three flour milling operations in Montreal, Quebec, Port Colborne, Ontario, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and two dry baking mixing facilities in Montreal and Burlington, Ontario. - 10/8/06

July 11, 2006


- Dow Jones Newswires

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) and Cargill Inc. received contracts to supply wheat worth a total of $141 million from the Indian government.

Archer Daniels Midland, the Decatur, Illinois, maker of food additives and ingredients for packaged-food companies, received a contract to supply 300,000 tons of wheat for $59.5 million, the Indian embassy said. The embassy said Cargill, Minnetonka, Minnesota, received a contract to supply 405,000 tons of wheat for $81.6 million.

The embassy said India is importing wheat at zero percent duty for the first time in six years to replenish buffer stocks and control domestic prices, which rose after the government allowed private companies to buy wheat directly from farmers rather than only through notified markets.

For extensive analysis of the food situaiton in India, including government policy as referred to above, see the Indian bi-weekly newsmagazine Frontline, June 30, 2006 -

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cargill Opens New Crushing Plant in Nantong, China

Cargill today has held an opening ceremony in Nantong, Jiangsu province, to celebrate the operating of a new 5,000-ton per day crushing facility. With around 60 million US dollars capital investment, this new plant will be the largest investment of Cargill in oilseed crushing industry in China.

It will be Cargill’s largest crushing facility in China and eventually will be one of Cargill’s largest crushing facilities worldwide. With this enhanced capacity, we will better serve our customers in the Yangtze River Basin and across China by continuously providing high quality feed proteins and related products such as soy oils. The Nantong plant will also be used to export products to neighboring countries.

Added to two existing crushing facilities in Dongguan, this new capacity will significantly strengthen our ability to reliably meet growing market demand.

Norwell Coquillard, president of Cargill Greater China said: “Cargill is committed to promoting sustainable agriculture and a secure food supply for China. Nowadays, our total investments in China have exceeded 500 million US dollars.”

Cargill . . . is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed.

Cargill started trade with China soon after President Nixon’s visit in 1972. Cargill’s annual trade value with China today exceeds US$ 3 billion. Currently, Cargill sells grains, oilseeds, steel products, sugar, fruit juices, meats, cotton and other commodities to China while exporting Chinese commodities such as steel, apple juice and corn. Cargill operates 27 wholly owned companies and joint ventures within 16 provinces in China. Projects range from soybean crushing in Guangdong to corn processing in Jilin and animal feed production in Sichuan. Cargill and its joint ventures employ over 3600 people in China.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Greenpeace Brazil, May 19, 2006
A quick translation by David Hathaway
See pictures and original Portuguese text at:

Greenpeace blocks Cargill soybean shipment and is attacked by the company and soybean growers

This Friday morning, Greenpeace blocked the Cargill port in Santarém and stopped the loading of Amazon-grown soybeans. The company's activities were stymied for three and a half hours. The soybeans, to be exported to Europe for animal feed, are grown in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest. Moreover, Cargill's port in Santarém was built illegally (1).

Five climbers went to the top of the ports bridges and stayed there until they were violently expelled by the multinational's guards. Three Greenpeace members were wounded: one North American activist who fell from the bridge while holding a banner that said "Fora Cargill" (Cargill Out), one activist who was thrown in the watter, and a German photographer who was hit by a flare in the chest. A group of 16 Greenpeace activists was arrested by the police, including Waldemar Wichmann, captain of the Greenpeace ship, and Paulo Adário, coordinator of the Amazon campaign. No soybean growers were arrested.

Approximately 40 growers crowded the entrance to the Federal Police office threatening the Greenpeace activists, but were dispersed by the police. Another group invaded the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and was also removed by the police. In addition, other growers on the pier repeatedly through rocks, sticks and fireworks at the ship, as well as painting scribbled offenses on the hull.

"US companies like Cargill are devouring the Amazon to grow soybeans. The animals fed with these soybeans end up on the shelves of supermarkets and fast-food restaurants in Europe and other countries. Our volunteers will continue their peaceful protests to protect the world's most precious tropical forest, which is being destroyed to feed chickens, pigs and cows," said Paulo Adário, coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon Campaign.

Soybeans are now a major cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. A total area estimated at 1.2 million hectares of what used to be forest has -- most of it illegally -- been destroyed to plant soybeans. The growers are also involved in other criminal activities such as land grabbing and slavery. (2)

Recent Greenpeace investigations summarized in the report "Eating up the Amazon" (3) reveal that Cargill's port is not just illegal in itself but also responsible for transporting soybeans from illegally cleared forest lands to the world market (4). Cargill owns 13 silos in the Amazon biome, more than any other company.

"US companies like Cargill should stop looking at the Amazon as a region to expand their soybean businesses. They should rather see it as one of the world's largest tropical forests, in urgent need of protection," said Gavin Edwards, coordinator of Greenpeace International's forest campaign.

Cargill makes not secret of the fact that it has helped establish soybean growers in the Amazon region, some of whom are involved in other illegal activities as well, such as land grabbing and slavery. The multinational says that now it making efforts to avoid buying soybeans from slave-owning growers, or from those who do massive ilegal clearing of the forest, but, in a meeting with Greenpeace this month the company refused to stop destroying the Amazon.

In the past few weeks, Greenpeace carried out actions in Europe against importers of Cargill's Amazon soybeans, including an attempt to keep soybean ships from unloading in Amsterdam. Greenpeace demands that Cargill and European food companies guarantee that the animal feed they buy will not contribute to the destruction of the Amazon, and that none of their soybean products is genetically modified.


(1) In February 2006, Brazil's second highest court decided against Cargill, ordering the company to obey Brazilian law and to carry out an enviromental impact assessment not only for its port but also for impacts on neighboring regions. Cargill is still appealing that decision.

(2) Cargill is the largest privately-owned company in the US, with anual revenue of $63 billion in 2003. It is by far the world's largest company in the global trade of feed and food grain, including the purchase, transportation and processing of grain, plus the crushing, refining and distribution to the rest of the world.

(3) Uma cópia em inglês do relatório “Eating up the Amazon”, que documenta os problemas da soja na Amazônia está disponível em:

The executive summary in Portuguese can be read at:

An English-language summary on Cargill can be found at:

(4) Em um dos inúmeros casos do relatório, a soja enviada para o terminal tem origem na fazenda Lavras, que está em terras ilegais e parte delas foi desmatada para o cultivo de soja. O Greenpeace tem uma cópia do contrato entre a Cargill e os proprietários das fazendas, os irmãos Cortezia. 


Saturday, March 04, 2006 

from The Ram's Horn, #236, February 2006

Now that the so-called Conservative Party has gained the upper hand as a result of the Jan 23rd election, we can expect to see Cargill’s policy objectives implemented even more quickly than under the Liberals. The Canadian Wheat Board is at the top of the hit list; getting rid of the Canadian Wheat Board as single-desk marketing agent for Prairie wheat and barley headed for export has been a Cargill objective for about half a century. The 300-member Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association will surely be its front man in the operation, along with other corporate ghosts speaking for those farmers that still harbour illusions about their entrepreneurial status, such as the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.

“According to Dr. Richard Gray, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Saskatchewan, loss of the CWB single-desk status would result in a cascade of events that would fundamentally alter the economics of grain production in western Canada. In a paper prepared in November, 2005, Gray points out that the loss of the CWB’s single desk status would lower returns to farmers, reduce price transparency and market development activities, allow the railways to gain complete control over transportation, and shift power away from small and independent grain companies. A further issue for farmers would be the loss of the opportunity to ship producer cars as the CWB becomes a small grain company with no inland or port facilities, dependent on other grain companies to handle its sales. In the last decade, farmers have invested in producer car loading facilities and have refined the concept to make it more effective and less risky. As producer car facilities go under, short line railways follow. . . As the short lines go down and this investment is lost, other dominoes follow. Processing facilities built on short lines will, of course, also fail as their rail transportation disappears. The loss of short lines would close the door to other economic activity that might have found a home in rural communities dependent on short line rail.” – thanks to Paul Beingessner

Cargill makes no bones about where it sees the money: in food manufacturers. Len Penner, the new president of Cargill Ltd., the corporation’s Canadian subsidiary, says that “We’re really poised for some further growth in Canada.” Penner didn’t identify any particular projects, but he did say that, “The idea for us is to provide solutions that can add value for the food manufacturers.” He went on to say that the company faces three challenges: industry overcapacity, transportation logistics and the economic well-being of farmers. Consolidation could be part of the answer, he said. “The overall health of the industry is a concern. It’s not good for an industry to have players that are not healthy.” He went on to say that it is crucial to ensure farmers are able to make a return on their investment, something that hasn’t been the case in recent years, thanks to bad weather, mediocre commodity prices, high input costs. . . There is no simple solution, Penner said. Back in the 1970s, when the company first appeared in Western Canada, Cargill became a dirty word for many farmers who viewed it as a foreign threat to the Prairies’ co-operatively-based grain industry. Now, with the co-ops gone and farmers facing tough economic challenges, that attitude has almost dissipated, according to Penner. – WP, 5/1/06

It must be wonderful to be so innocent. Penner has worked for Cargill for 30 years, yet he presents himself as unconscious of the role Cargill has played in bringing about the situation farmers face today. Penner makes his corporate perspective obvious, however, when he says that it is crucial for farmers to make a return on their investment. As for solutions, Cargill could, without any significant loss to its corporate welfare, charge the farmers less for the fertilizers it sells to them and pay them more for the commodities (livestock, oilseeds and grains) it buys from them. These measures might not provide a return on investment for farmers, but they might make it possible for them to make a living.

Cargill’s Harvest Health plan

In the ongoing efforts to secure a better grip on their suppliers – farmers, that is – agribusiness companies are becoming more creative with the incentives they offer farmers to lock in deliveries of their corn, soya and wheat. Cargill is now offering to pay US farmers up to $5,450 a year for health care if they pledge to sell a certain amount of grain to the company. However, many farmers send their grain to cooperatives they have invested in and in whose success they have a stake, and some farmers shy away from long-term commitments to one company, a requirement of Cargill’s health plan. – source: Reuters, 2/2/06


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Invisible Giant Joins Visible Giant in Plastic

The biggest agribusiness and the largest food distributor in the US are now doing business together. SAM’S CLUB, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, started using Cargill’s NatureWorks PLA® for fresh-cut produce packaging at SAM’S CLUB and Wal-Mart Super Centers in November. The clear, thermoformed packaging, replacing conventional packaging for just four items, will translate to more than 100 million containers per year for Wal-Mart Stores. “With this change to packaging made from corn we will save the equivalent of 800,000 gallons of gasoline and reduce more than 11 million lbs. of green house gas emissions from polluting our environment,” said a SAM’S CLUB spokesman. A Cargill NatureWorks spokesman pointed out that “The cost of our raw material, essentially corn, has remained stable for decades.”

According to Cargill, “the technology to produce NatureWorks PLA essentially harvests the starch stored in corn into natural plant sugars. The sugar is then fermented into lactic acid, which is used to create a clear plastic called polylactide (PLA) that can be shaped into a variety of bottles, containers, trays, film and other packaging. Its production uses 68 percent less fossil fuel resources than traditional plastics.” It is marketed under the NatureWorks PLA and Ingeo™ fiber brand names and can be disposed of of in industrial composting. –, 21/10/05

For a catchy little promo, visit

Re-aligning its financial operations/manipulations

Surely Cargill was aware of the condition of its buyer when, at the end of last August it sold its London-based commodity futures brokerage business, Cargill Investor Services, to New York futures broker Refco Inc. Refco paid $208 million in cash upfront and promised a payment of at least $67 million and as much as $192 million, depending on the performance of the business over two years. The sale of Cargill Investor Services was made with the agreement that Cargill would continue to clear trades through its former unit for five years

A bare two months later (October 18th) Revco declared bankruptcy – the fourth-largest Chapter 11 filing is in US history. The company listed $48.6 billion in liabilities and $48.8 billion in assets. The bankruptcy came after the arrest of former Refco CEO Phillip Bennett on charges of hiding $430 million in debt that he owed the company.

Man Group plc, the world’s largest listed hedge fund firm, then acquired the customer accounts, balances and certain other assets of Refco's US operations, comprised primarily all of the business and employees of Refco's US regulated futures and securities businesses as well as elements of their Foreign Exchange businesses.

Star Tribune, 21/10/05, FIW 27/10/05, Man Group plc press release 28/11/05

Cargill to build sugar refinery in Louisiana


Cargill Sugar North America announced in November a 50-50 joint venture with Louisiana Sugar Cane Products Inc. to build a $100 million sugar refinery on Cargill's 200-acre grain-shipping port on the Gulf coast at Reserve, Louisiana, USA. It will be the largest sugar refinery in the US, with the capacity to refine 1 million tons of raw sugar cane a year. Cargill already operates a soybean-processing plant on the site.

Louisiana is the second-largest sugar-producing state in the US behind Florida. The new refinery will handle about 75 percent of all of the raw sugar produced in the state and 10 percent of the nation's sugar, said Mike Daigle, chairman of Louisiana Sugar Cane Products Inc., a cooperative that represents 10 of the 13 raw sugar mills in the state and roughly 700 of the state's near-1,000 cane farmers. Cargill and the co-op have been discussing the venture for three years. – New Orleans Times Picayune, 2/11/05

Cargill’s new refinery will be well situated to received shiploads of raw sugar and cane molasses for further refining from Australia, Brazil, Central America and Mexico. “Domestic sugar demand has resumed its upward trend over the past 2-3 years, and deliveries rose last year for the first time in three years. This is due to more meals being eaten away from home, the waning of the low-carb trend, and softening of HFCS usage. . . Sugar from Mexico was 10,000 short tons raw value in FY 2004, is estimated at 70,000 tons in FY 2005, and projected at 160,000 in FY 2006. Cane molasses for further refining is imported from Australia, Brazil and Central America.” – Dyer Special Report, 22nd International Sweetener Symposium, Aug 2005

Natural gas/fertilizer/soy


When Cargill built its nitrogen fertilizer plant at Bell Plaine, Saskatchewan, in 1989, as I noted in Invisible Giant, there were two global reasons to locate it there: the TransCanada natural gas pipeline runs through Belle Plaine and natural gas is the feedstock for nitrogen fertilizer; second, Belle Plaine is on a mainline railway that runs south to Minneapolis-St. Paul where Cargill Port can load barges and send them south to the Gulf Coast where the cargo can be loaded on ships headed for Cargill ports in Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere.

Now it has been brought to my attention that Kerry L. Hawkins, President of Cargill Ltd. (Canada) has been on the Board of Directors of TransCanada since 1996. According to its website, “TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure. TransCanada's network of approximately 41,000 kilometres (25,600 miles) of pipeline transports the majority of Western Canada's natural gas production to key Canadian and US markets. A growing independent power producer, TransCanada owns, or has interests in, approximately 6,000 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United State. Founded in 1951 and headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, we have 2,400 employees and are also the operator and the largest unit holder of TC PipeLines, LP.” describes Cargill Limited as “grain handlers, merchants, transporters, processors of agricultural products and gas marketers since 1982,” while Cargill’s Canadian website ( now provides this information: “Calgary is the headquarters for Cargill Power & Gas Markets’ North American natural gas trading operations. With its strong ties to Canadian natural gas producers, CPGM is able to provide a broad range of energy and risk management solutions to both producers and consumers of natural gas in Canada and the United States. In addition to natural gas, CPGM also markets and trades electricity, weather derivatives, coal and other commodities.” 

New Canadian President and Organic Certification

 Cargill Limited (Canada) has named Len Penner to succeed Kerry Hawkins as president, effective December 1, 2005. Hawkins has retired after a 41 year career with Cargill. Penner was appointed Vice President of Cargill Limited in May 1998. 

Prairie Malt Ltd, 60% owned by Cargill Ltd and 40% by Saskatchewan Pool, has received organic certification for the processing of malting barley and wheat.

Growing in China

Cargill has purchased a soy processing plant in China next door to a similar plant it already owns near Shanghai and is leasing a third the plant from Nantong Baogand Oils. The plants were in financial difficulty as a result of reduced demand for poultry feed after the destruction of more than 20 million birds due to the avian flu scare.