MINNEAPOLIS — Net income at Cargill in the first quarter ended Aug. 31 totaled $525 million, down 65% from last year’s record $1.49 billion. Cargill said the decline reflected a sharp drop in earnings from the company’s majority investment in The Mosaic Co.

"Cargill posted a solid quarter, notwithstanding the comparison to last year’s all-time record," said Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our business unit earnings were broad based, and they were up considerably from the final two quarters of fiscal 2009. We’ve stayed focused on delivering solutions to customers, which drives the continuing investment in our people, facilities, technologies and innovation. All of this makes us optimistic about Cargill’s ability to grow and to help our customers succeed in this still-fragile world economy."

Breaking down Cargill’s five business segments, year-over-year earnings rose sharply for the risk management and financial segment and climbed moderately for agriculture services and in food ingredients and applications. Results in the origination and processing segment were solid, though down from last year’s record performance, while earnings in the industrial segment, which includes Cargill’s majority investment in The Mosaic Co., declined substantially from the year-ago level.

Cargill said it opened three new facilities in the first quarter, including a glycerin refinery next to its biodiesel plant in Frankfurt, Germany, a feed mill that processes co-products from adjacent Cargill facilities in Efremov, Russia, and a specialty canola research and production center in Aberdeen, Sask.