Cargill’s yearly revenues are higher than Kuwait’s or Vietnam’s. It’s sales are greater than Disney, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo combined. Minnesota-based Cargill is so big it “can influence agricultural markets around the world and affect prices consumers pay for everything from hamburgers to bread, according to some agricultural economists,” reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Chris Serres in story about the company the paper calls a “silent giant.”

As food prices have risen worldwide, pushing tens of millions of people into poverty, the increasingly large companies that dominate the world’s food production are rightly of interest. Serres writes about Cargill, one of the largest, in a series on food. Cargill is huge and it is still privately owned, largely by descendants of brothers William Wallace and Samuel Cargill. The company is also secretive. “Everyone knows they make a ton of money, but no one really knows how,” said Michael Tian, an agricultural analyst at Morningstar. Serres contacted 30 family members and none agreed to an interview.

Farmers and consumers are worried about corporate concentrations in the food and fertilizer industries. Cargill is at the center of those businesses worldwide. Good story.

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