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Cargill Info

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Mike

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#1 U.S. grain trader/exporter (25% of market, which is equivalent to Cargill exporting 25.1 million tons or 1.0 billion bushels of grain); #1 world grain trader/exporter (25% of market, which is equivalent to Cargill exporting 52.9 million tons, or 2.11 billion bushels of grain); #1 U.S. owner of grain elevators (340 elevators); #1 world cotton trader; #1 U.S. manufacturer of corn-based high-protein animal feeds (through subsidiary Nutrena Mills); #2 U.S. wet corn miller; #2 U.S. soybean crusher; #2 Argentine grain exporter (10% of market); #3 U.S. flour miller (18% of market); #3 U.S. meatpacker, through Excel division (18% of market); #3 U.S. pork packer/slaughterer; #3 U.S. commercial animal feeder; #3 French grain exporter (15-18% of market); #6 U.S. turkey producer.

Cargill raises 350,000 hogs, 12 million turkeys, and 312 million broiler chickens. In the United States, it owns 420 barges, 11 towboats, 2 huge vessels that sail the Great Lakes, 12 ocean-going ships, 2,000 railroad hopper cars, and 2,000 tank cars.

Cargill and its subsidiaries operate 800 plants. It has 500 U.S. offices, 300 foreign offices. It operates in 60 countries.

History: Shortly after the Civil War, William Cargill, a Scottish immigrant sea merchant, bought his first grain elevator in Conover, Iowa. In 1870, with his brother Sam, William Cargill bought grain elevators all along the Southern Minnesota Railroad, at a time when Minnesota was becoming an important shipping route. But Cargill's biggest break came when he bought elevators along the line of James J. Hill's Great Northern railroad line, which went west of Minneapolis, and into the Red River Valley as far as North Dakota, and also into South Dakota. Hill was the business partner of Ned Harriman (father of Averell Harriman), who became the business agent for England's Queen Victoria's son, Prince Edward, later King Edward VII. Through a preferential rebate system, and other arrangements, Hill's rail line helped build the Cargill operation.

Twice during the twentieth century, the Cargill firm nearly went under. William Cargill, Jr., the son of company founder Will Cargill, made some bad investments in Montana during the first decade of the twentieth century, and between 1909 and 1917, Cargill hovered on the brink of bankruptcy. Some British capital came in to rescue the company. William Cargill, Sr. had a daughter, Edna, who married John MacMillan. The financiers designated John MacMillan and the MacMillan family to come in and reorganize Cargill. This was the period in which the MacMillan family started running Cargill.

Cargill also nearly went under following the 1929 U.S. stock market crash, and ensuing Great Depression. There is not a word of what happened to Cargill Co. during the depression in the History of Cargill, 1865-1945. But two forces came to the rescue: John D. Rockefeller's Chase National Bank, which sent its officer John Peterson to help run Cargill. Peterson became Cargill's top officer. The other force was a Byelorussian Jewish grain merchant, Julius Hendel, who joined the company in the late 1920s. It would seem odd at first that a European, and a Jew at that, would be admitted into the inner councils of a rock-ribbed Scottish-American firm, but this indicates the international scope of forces that shape the grain trade. Hendel would later also school Dwayne Andreas, when Andreas worked for Cargill after World War II.

During the mid-1930s, Cargill used cut-throat tactics. In September 1937, corn was a scarce commodity. The 1936 American crop had been a failure, and the new crop would not be harvested until October. Cargill bought up every available corn future, to the tune of several millions of dollars, and created a squeeze on the market. The Chicago Board of Trade ordered Cargill to sell some of its futures to relieve the squeeze. Cargill refused. The CBOT expelled Cargill from the Board of Trade. The U.S. secretary of agriculture accused Cargill of trying to destroy the American corn market.

In 1922, Cargill had opened up a New York office; in 1929, it opened an Argentine office, and it continued to expand, especially after the Second World War, as the United States exported large quantities of grain to Europe and other parts of the globe. In 1953, Cargill established Tradax International in Panama to run its global grain trade. In 1956, it set up Tradax Genève in Geneva, Switzerland, as the coordinating arm of Tradax. Tradax subsidiaries were set up in Germany (Deutsche Tradax, GmbH), England (Tradax Limited), Japan (Tradax Limited), Australia (Tradax Limited), France (Compagnie Cargill S.A.), and so forth. Thirty percent of ownership of Tradax is held by old-line Venetian-Burgundian-Lombard banking families, principally the Swiss-based Lombard, Odier, and Pictet banks. The financier for Tradax is the Geneva-based Crédit Suisse, which has been cited repeatedly for drug-money laundering. On Feb. 7, 1985, the U.S. government caught Crédit Suisse and other large banks laundering $1.2 billion in illegal money—much of it suspected drug money—to the First National Bank of Boston.

In 1977, Cargill's involvement in a "black peseta"-laundering operation at Cargill's offices in Spain was revealed.

Cargill has been repeatedly cited for "blending"—that is, adding foreign matter to its grain. For example, an export contract may allow for 8% of the grain volume that a company is exporting to be foreign matter. If Cargill's grain load is only 6% foreign matter, it will mix in dirt and gravel. A Cargill superintendent told the Kansas City Times in July 1982, "If we've got a real clean load, we'll make sure we hold it until we can mix it with something dirtier. Otherwise, we'd be throwing away money."

Cargill has expanded into every major crop and livestock on the face of the earth, in over 60 countries. It has also expanded into coal, steel (it is America's seventh largest steel producer, owning LTV), waste disposal, and metals. Today, Cargill runs one of the 20 largest commodity brokerage firms in the United States, trading on the Chicago and world markets, which is larger than those of most Wall Street brokerage houses. Another division, Cargill Investor Services, has offices throughout the United States, as well as in London, Geneva, and Zurich.

Key personnel and policy: The combined Cargill and MacMillan families of Cargill own 90% of the company's stock (the rest is owned by company executives). They are one of the ten richest families in America: According to the July 17, 1995 Forbes magazine, the combined Cargill/MacMillan families are worth $5.1 billion, making them richer than the Mellons. Whitney MacMillan, W. Duncan MacMillan, John Hugh MacMillan III, and Cargill MacMillan, Jr., are each worth $570 million.

The British connections of the MacMillan family are evident. John Hugh MacMillan II (1895-1960) was the president of Cargill from 1936 until 1957, and was chairman from 1957 until 1960. He was a hereditary Knight Commander of Justice of the Sovereign Order of St. John, the chivalric order run by the international oligarchy grouped around the Anglo-Dutch monarchy. Whitney MacMillan, chairman of Cargill from 1976 until 1994, was educated at the exclusive British-modeled Blake School (where the chairman of General Mills was also educated), and then Yale University.

Showing the link with the gangster-ridden Democratic Party of Minnesota, Walter Mondale was elected a director of Cargill.

In 1983-84, the family-controlled Cargill Foundation contributed $50,000 to the University of Chicago's monetarist Economics Department.
 

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