As rising food prices caused by a combination of climate change-driven adverse weather, supply chain issues, and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine place inflationary pressures on most household budgets, it's proving beneficial to the billionaire Cargill family.
James Cargill, II., 72, Austen Cargill, II., 71, and Marianne Liebmann, 68, now appear on the Bloomberg index with wealth of an estimated $5.27 billion each – just enough to sneak into tied 498th place.
The trio are on Forbes' own billionaires list too, with estimated fortunes of $5 billion from their stakes in the family business.
Other Cargill family members who appear on Bloomberg's rankings include Pauline MacMillan Keinath and Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer, who both have estimated $7.81 billion fortunes, while the more expansive Forbes list includes Sarah MacMillan ($2.4 billion), as well as several smaller stakeholders who have fortunes of around $1.6 billion.
The global food giant, which has its headquarters in Wayzata, saw its annual revenue rise by 17% in fiscal 2021 to $134.4 billion, posting record profits of almost $5 billion, an increase of 63% on 2020.
According to Reuters, this was thanks in part to "high export demand for and high prices of commodity crops and vegetable oils."
Cargill Inc. is controlled by 125 family members, who in recent years have seen their dividends increase significantly. In 2020, after posting then bumper profits of $3 billion, Cargill paid out $1.13 billion to its shareholding family members, up 76% from the year before, it was reported.
Global food supplies and supply chains already challenged by increasingly severe global weather events – for example, a major drought in Canada that caused a significant drop in wheat and canola crops – as well as the ongoing global pandemic have been exacerbated by Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, a nation that is itself a major food producer and exporter.
On Monday, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said March's inflation numbers will be "extraordinarily elevated" due to the war in Ukraine.
Cargill has facilities in both Ukraine and Russia, with the company saying it would be "scaling back" its operations in Russia following Putin's invasion, but would continue to operate "essential food and feed facilities" in the country.
The company operates a grain export terminal in Ukraine, and one of its ships was struck by a projectile in the days after Russia invaded in late February.