Corporations: With the Grain

Within minutes after President Kennedy announced the U.S. wheat sale to Russia and its satellites, telex machines started clattering in a 63-room French provincial mansion in the woodland outside Minneapolis. From this unlikely headquarters, messages went out to the far-flung arms of the biggest U.S. grain dealer: Cargill, Inc. Though it is a secretive, inbred and inconspicuous company, Cargill (pronounced with a hard g, as in fish-gill) is a $1.5 billion-a-year giant with more than enough wheat capacity to handle the entire sale of 150 million bushels to Russia. Despite its...

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