Food production giant Cargill reported Tuesday that its earnings in the first quarter of its fiscal year are down 65 percent from a year ago.
In the fiscal 2010 first quarter that ended Aug. 31, Cargill reported net earnings of $525 million compared to $1.49 billion during the same period a year ago.
Cargill said last year's earnings were a record high, and the company attributed the decline from becoming a majority investor in The Mosaic Company, which produces concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients.
In a statement, Cargill Chairman and CEO Greg Page said the most recent earnings were up considerably from the final two quarters of the company's 2009 fiscal year.
"We've stayed focused on delivering solutions to customers, which drives the continuing investment in our people, facilities, technologies and innovation," Page said in the statement. "All of this makes us optimistic about Cargill's ability to grow and to help our customers succeed in this still-fragile world economy."
Minnesota-based Cargill is a privately held company that employs 159,000 people in 68 countries. It provides food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services.