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Cargill Limited

Cargill is a large, diversified international company which got its start in the grain business when William Cargill, a Scottish immigrant, bought his first elevator in Iowa. In partnership with his brother Sam, he began purchasing elevators in 1870 in Minnesota, and later in North and South Dakota on the new Great Northern Railroad. The Cargill company became active in Canada in 1930 when it began to purchase and export Canadian grain. In 1960 it acquired and began to operate a grain transfer elevator at Baie Comeau, Quebec. In 1975 it entered the primary elevator business with the acquisition of National Grain Limited from the Peavey interests, a major competitor in the United States. With headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Cargill has become the largest grain trader/exporter, with 25% of the world market. In addition it is the world’s largest cotton trader, largest feed manufacturer of livestock feed (Nutrena Mills), second largest US wet corn miller, second largest US soybean crusher, and third largest US pork slaughterer/packer. It also has interests in poultry production, in river, lake and ocean transport, and in rail hopper cars. Cargill and its subsidiaries operate 800 plants, and have 500 US offices and 300 foreign offices, with approximately 100,000 employees in sixty-one countries. The combined Cargill and MacMillan families, who own Cargill, are one of the ten richest families in the US, worth about $5.1 billion US in 1995.

In Canada, Cargill is one of the largest agricultural processors and merchandizers: in addition to its grain handling and merchandizing, it has investments in meat, egg, malt and oilseed processing, and livestock feed, salt and fertilizer manufacturing. It has $1.2 billion in assets and annual sales of $3.5 billion. In 2004, Cargill had thirty-three primary licenced elevators, including fifteen in Saskatchewan with a capacity of 158,640 tonnes. In the province it operates, as a joint venture with farmers, Mainline Terminal Ltd. in Langbank, North East Terminal in Wadena, South West Terminal near Gull Lake, and Terminal 22 at Balcarres. It also operates, as a joint venture with the government of Saskatchewan, Saskferco Products Inc., a fertilizer plant at Belle Plaine, completed in 1992 at a cost of $435 million. In 1998, Cargill became joint venture partner in Prairie Malt in Biggar. The company owns a 2,400 tonne per day Canola processing plant at Clavet; the largest soft seed oil processing plant in North America, it produces canola oil as well as canola meal for the North American and world markets.

Gary Storey

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Further Reading

Anderson, C.W. 1991. Grain: The Entrepreneurs. Winnipeg: Watson and Dwyer Publishing; Wilson, C.F. 1978. A Century of Canadian Grain. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books.
This web site was produced with financial assistance
provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
Ce site Web a été conçu grâce à l'aide financière de
Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.