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‘We are the flour in your bread, the wheat in your noodles, the salt on your fries. We are the corn in your tortillas, the chocolate in your dessert, the sweetener in your soft drink. We are the oil in your salad dressing and the beef, pork or chicken you eat for dinner. We are the cotton in your clothing, the backing on your carpet and the fertilizer in your field.’

Source: Cargill’s corporate brochure

Cargill Inc. is the largest food company in the world and the largest privately owned company in America. Approximately 20 people, broken down into two branches of the family, the Cargills and the MacMillans, own about 88% of the company.

It is estimated that Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis-Dreyfus (collectively known as the ABCDs), control 70-90% of the global grain market. Cargill’s annual revenue is nearly equal to that of all of the other ABCD companies combined.

The Cargill-MacMillans are the fourth richest family in America, with more billionaires than any other family on Earth. Six of the family members sit on Cargill’s Board of Directors. The others, while not necessarily engaged in the company’s day-to-day business, are still its owners and have the ultimate say over—and responsibility for—Cargill’s practices.

While they are one of the most powerful families in the world, both for their wealth and their control of global food supplies, they are highly secretive, and little is known about them. Bloomberg calls them “one of America’s richest but least known corporate dynasties.”

A former Cargill CEO said, “They want to draw the curtain down. A lot of rich people want to be on TV, want you to know who they are and that they own this and that. Not these people.”

Cargill Inc.'s revenue of $177 billion USD, owned by the Cargill-MacMillans, makes it the world's largest food company and privately owned company in America.
Approximately 20 people in the two branches of the family, the Cargills and the Macmillan’s, own about 88% of the company.
According to Forbes, 14 of the family members are billionaires. While many in their supply chain live far below the poverty line, the Cargill-MacMillan family members continue to see their fortunes grow.

America’s billionaire’s profit from child labor and slavery

The fortunes of the Cargill-MacMillans have risen dramatically in the last few years due to current food crises and other global disruptions like climate change. According to Agfunder news, “Agribusiness majors like Cargill have seen earnings soar over the past couple of years as commodity prices have risen due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and other factors.”

The more expensive food is, the more money the Cargill-MacMillians make. And the more expensive food is, the more people go hungry. Despite Cargill’s motto of “Nourishing Our World,” the more people are undernourished, the more profit the Cargill-MacMillans see. (see figs 1-4) 

They profit not only on the backs of the hungry but also on child labor and modern-day slavery. Just this year, Cargill was convicted of turning a blind eye to slavery on the plantations that supply their cocoa. According to a prosecutor from Brazil’s Labor Prosecution Service,  “Cargill was convicted for allowing slave and child labour. The company pretends not to see it. That’s why they are being convicted.” 

The juxtaposition of these two realities is that while the family members’ income from corporate dividends alone ranges from about $7 million a year to $64 million a year, there are entire families with children, sometimes as young as four, performing life-threatening tasks on the cocoa plantations that supply their company. These families are being paid as little as a total of $140 a year.  

It is simply unacceptable that in the 21st century, one of America’s richest families is still profiting from child labor and slavery.

The more expensive the food, the more money Cargill makes.

The excessive wealth of the Cargill-MacMillian family stands in stark contrast to the workers who supply them with their raw materials. Many of them are children working in exchange for food – and some of them working in outright slavery.

Over 20 years ago, Cargill publicly acknowledged the problem of forced child labor in the cocoa industry and committed to eliminating it in their production of chocolate. 

As a part of the “Harkin Engel Protocol,” Cargill agreed to a “comprehensive, six-point problem-solving approach along with a time-bound process for credibly eliminating the use of abusive child labor in cocoa growing.”  

The Family Evidence
Media Articles

Cargill-MacMillan Family Refuses to Meet With Visiting Indigenous Leader

On October 12, Beka Munduruku, an Amazon Indigenous leader, traveled 4,000 miles to Wayzata, MN, to deliver a letter from the Munduruku people to the Cargill-MacMillan family, urging them to halt the destruction of their land. She was stopped by security in the parking lot and denied access, following the family's refusal to meet.
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The Cargill-MacMillan Family Is Winning the Lottery but Losing the Planet

Twice in the last few weeks, people in the U.S. could buy a lottery ticket for a jackpot in excess of $1 billion. But the Cargill-MacMillan family doesn’t need to play, their company just earned them a cool $1 billion—on top of the estimated $65 billion they already have—and who knows how big the jackpot will be next year.
Media Articles ‘names and shames’ Cargill and its heirs to keep deforestation promises

Last week, documents alleging the largest U.S. private company's involvement in global deforestation were delivered to a Minneapolis suburb office. The files, from, accompanied New York Times and Star-Tribune ads urging Cargill's owners to halt tropical forest destruction.

A Grain of Truth

As plea to the Cargill-MacMillan family to show leadership by eliminating human rights abuses and the destruction of nature from Cargill’s supply chain....
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Soaring food prices push more Cargill family members on to world’s richest 500 list

A “giant leap” in global food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has helped three members of the super-rich Cargill family, who majority-own one of the world’s largest food companies, join the ranks of the world’s 500 richest people.
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The secretive Cargill family has 14 billionaires thanks to an agricultural empire — more than any other clan on earth

Cargill is the largest privately held company in the US. The Minnesota-based agriculture giant has 75 businesses employing 143,000 people in 67 countries. In 2013, yearly revenue topped $134 billion. That money has made the Cargill clan very, very rich.