Cargill profit rises in 2Q

MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill on Monday reported that its earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 rose 25 percent from the same period last year.

The company reported net earnings of $1.19 billion for the quarter, up from $954 million last year. For the first six months, it earned $2.68 billion, up 43 percent from $1.87 billion a year ago.

“Cargill performed solidly in a period like no other,” said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. “The global financial system was under significant stress, energy and agricultural commodity prices fell sharply, and recessionary risks took hold in developed economies in a worsening global economic environment. Because of Cargill’s focus on market fundamentals and risk management, we were able to work our way safely through exceedingly volatile conditions.”

Among Cargill’s business segments, results in the second quarter were led by its origination and processing segment and by its industrial segment, both of which reportedly increased earnings significantly from a year ago. Earnings in agriculture services decreased moderately. Results declined overall in the food ingredients and applications segment, with steady or improved performance in some food ingredient and meat units offset by weaker performance elsewhere.


Source: Cargill Inc.

Large harvest brings down crop prices

ST. LOUIS – A government report on Monday said that a bumper crop for 2008 has caused commodity prices to drop.

Media reports said that corn futures dropped 60 cents, or 7 percent, to close at $3.81 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade after the report was released. Soybeans also fell 7 percent, losing 70 cents to close at $9.66 a bushel.

Farmers produced the second largest corn crop on record despite major floods throughout the Midwest in the early part of summer.

There were 12.1 billion bushels of corn grown for use as grain, down 7 percent from 2007's all-time record of 13.04 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The soybean crop of 2.96 billion bushels was the fourth largest in U.S. history, up 11 percent from 2007.

The drop in prices could be for companies such as Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim's Pride Corp. and Smithfield Foods Inc. Meat processors, especially in the poultry segment, have struggled as high grain prices last year pushed feed costs to record highs.


Source: Associated Press

NPB names Celebrated Chefs

DES MOINES, Iowa – The National Pork Board (NPB) has named five chefs as spokespeople for the Pork Checkoff as part of the 13th year of its Celebrated Chefs program.

"The Celebrated Chefs program, developed in 1996, is designed to keep pork at the forefront of the latest menu trends," says Karen Buchholz, Director of Foodservice Marketing for the Pork Checkoff. "This program connects some of the best chefs in the nation to pork, a top protein they are all passionate about."

The 2009 Celebrated Chefs are comprised of both independent and chain operators. The spokespeople for this year are: 

• Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Ala.

• John Sundstrom of Lark in Seattle.

• Kevin Storm of Bellerive County Club in St. Louis.

• Michael Paley of Proof on Main in Louisville, Ky.

• Tyler Wiard of Elway's Cherry Creek in Denver.

The chefs will be featured in a Checkoff-funded media tour in the spring.


Source: Pork Checkoff