Last summer's punishing drought in the Midwest caused Cargill's third-quarter earnings to sink 42% compared to the same period a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based company said Tuesday.
Cargill Inc., the largest closely held company in the U.S., reported that net earnings in the fiscal 2013 third quarter were $445 million -- down $321 million from the same period a year earlier.
Third-quarter sales were $32.2 billion -- up 1%.
"In North America, our meat-processing businesses were pressured by the drought-related high cost of feed ingredients," said chief executive Greg Page.
Among Cargill's five business segments -- which include agriculture services and food ingredients and applications -- four of them had lower earnings in the third quarter.
"The animal protein businesses were negatively affected in North America by high feeding costs, tight cattle supplies and an oversupplied turkey market," the Minneapolis-based company said in a statement.
Cargill is a multinational food and agriculture company employing 142,000 people in 65 countries.