Cargill is one of the world's agribusiness giants and one of the largest privately held companies based in the United States. It began as a grain trader and has expanded into many forms of food processing and other industries such as steel and coal. Amid soaring commodity prices, Cargill's profits have been growing at an astounding rate.
Cargill is not shy about using its size and power to affect public policy. In his book Invisible Giant: Cargill and Its Transnational Strategies (Pluto Press, 2nd edition, 2002), Brewster Kneen writes that “Cargill has and will continue to shape the agricultural policy of as many countries and regions as it can.” Cargill has a tradition of secrecy, but in recent years it has been a bit more forthcoming about its operations.