MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill reported earlier today net earnings of $556 million for its fiscal 2014 second quarter ended Nov. 30, up 36 percent from $409 million in the year-ago period. However, first-half earnings of $1.13 billion were down 19 percent from $1.38 billion one year ago. Second-quarter revenues decreased 7 percent to $32.9 billion, which brought first-half revenues to $66.7 billion.

David MacLennan, Cargill president and chief executive officer, said Cargill posted a solid second quarter, with earnings improved in three of our four segments. “We also oversaw the opening of several new investments that support customers’ growth and success,” he added. “The company’s results were supported in part by 2013’s improved crop production. The impact on supply and demand caused prices for agricultural commodities to come down from last year’s highs, providing relief to Cargill’s animal nutrition and protein segment.”

Animal Nutrition & Protein earnings increased significantly. Improved profitability among the animal nutrition units was linked to lower input costs, good price-risk management and a well-managed mix of bulk, specialty and customized animal feeds. The animal protein businesses also realized the effects of new-crop supplies, which eased last year’s high feeding costs. Larger export volumes and increased operating efficiencies also contributed to stronger results, especially in beef processing. Cargill’s Food Ingredients & Applications segment increased slightly from the year-ago period and was the largest contributor to second-quarter results.

In the US, Cargill began processing corn into ethanol at its Fort Dodge, Iowa, corn wet mill that was purchased in 2011. The facility will anchor the development of a biorefinery campus that can support the manufacture of other biobased products.