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·         Activists protest CEO of Cargill — 'worst company in the world' — at his Edina home

·         Plug and Play partners with Cargill to launch innovation platform focused on animal health and agricultural technology



Activists protest CEO of Cargill — 'worst company in the world' — at his Edina home


by Susan Du, City Pages (MN) 

July 30, 2020


Minnesota-based agricultural giant Cargill vows to end deforestation in its supply chain. It’s just unclear how long they'll take to do it.


Cargill, which trades in agricultural commodities like soybeans, buys from farmers all over the world, including the ones razing forests to make way for farm fields. This is especially troubling in Brazil, simultaneously the world’s top exporter of soybeans and home to most of the Amazon rainforest. Slash-and-burn farming in Brazil has already destroyed a fifth of the Amazon. Last year, it contributed to wildfires that consumed 2.2 million acres.


In 2014, Cargill signed on to the United Nations' New York Declaration on Forests, pledging to stop purchasing products grown on deforested land by the end of 2020. That deadline is just around the corner, and the company’s not going to make it. Last year, after receiving corporate sustainability awards and conciliatory praise from environmental groups, Cargill announced it would actually give itself until 2030 to stop sourcing from deforesters. By then, more than half of the Amazon would be lost, according to the World Wildlife Fund.


In addition to farms in the Amazon, Cargill also buys soy from farmers who are rapidly clearing another massive Brazilian biome of woodlands and savannah called the Cerrado, which has already been reduced by half. In 2017, dozens of Brazilian and international brands signed an agreement, the Cerrado Manifesto, to halt deforestation in the region.


Cargill opposes the Cerrado Manifesto, stating in a letter to soy producers last summer that honoring any moratorium against deforestation would harm Brazilian farmers who depend on soy for their livelihoods. Instead, Cargill pledged $30 million to find a solution that would save the carbon-sequestering natural resources without upending farm economies abroad.


But activists say the reluctance of America’s largest privately owned company to divorce itself from deforestation shows it’s just buying time -- time the world doesn’t have, if we want to resist the most catastrophic effects of climate change.


About 30 protesters organized by environmental group Mighty Earth descended on Cargill CEO David MacLennon’s house in Edina on Wednesday evening. There were no signs that MacLennon was there, but his neighbors came out to watch as the group blocked the sidewalk in front of the home and sang chants accusing Cargill of “ecocide.”


“While Brazilian politicians allow for the deforestation of the Amazon forest, which acts as the world’s largest carbon sink, that does not mean large agriculture businesses should exploit such precious and essential resources that has devastating effects on the climate crisis,” said Abby Hornberger, a University of Minnesota environmental science student...


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Plug and Play partners with Cargill to launch innovation platform focused on animal health and agricultural technology


Source: Plug and Play

via PRNewswire - Jul 29, 2020  


SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Plug and Play, a global innovation platform and accelerator, today announced that Cargill will serve as a founding partner for its newest location in Topeka, Kan. focused on animal health and agriculture technology. Through this partnership, Plug and Play and Cargill will work with startups that are creating new technologies and products to build successful food and agricultural businesses and communities.


"Cargill is partnering with Plug and Play to bring together some of the brightest minds and boldest ideas in agriculture and protein production," said Rob Stewart, president of growth ventures and emerging markets in Cargill's North America protein business. "Together we will leverage our unique expertise to help new companies across the food supply chain identify market opportunities, attract customers and accelerate growth."


This partnership will incubate global innovation around Animal Health and Agtech from the heart of cattle country and the Kansas City animal health corridor, making the most of both companies' strengths. Plug and Play's global reach will help startups enter new geographic locations, find new customers and grow. Cargill will bring scale, a broad expertise and the strength of a global supply chain.


"Plug and Play is incredibly excited to launch this program in partnership with Cargill as our first founding partner. Their support and dedication will lay the foundation for entrepreneurs and startups to access the best resources available, beginning with industries such as Animal Health and Agtech," said Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play.


Plug and Play will bring eight to 10 startups to the city every six months. Later this fall, the company will run their first virtual accelerator out of the Topeka location. Those startups will go through three-month accelerator programs aimed at helping the businesses get off the ground, providing mentorship, resources and office space. There is a 70 percent average success rate for companies that go through a Plug and Play accelerator program, measured in follow-on capital raised.


"Topeka proudly welcomes Cargill as the first founding partner of the Plug and Play Platform. This investment is a vital step, it will propel our community forward as we work to become a hub for Animal Science and Agtech research. I am grateful to our partners in GOTopeka for making this possible, and am excited to watch a new generation of startups and entrepreneurs find their success in our great city," commented Mayor Michelle De La Isla.


"We are thrilled to welcome Cargill as the first founding member of the Topeka Animal Health and Agtech focused innovation platform powered by Plug and Play. Cargill has made significant investments in innovation throughout Kansas over the last decade and we are proud to collaborate with this organization and help shape the future of agriculture for our State. Plug and Play's proven innovation platform will create substantial economic impact for the entire region," said Katrin Bridges, Senior Vice President of Innovation for Greater Topeka Partnership.


Corporations and startups interested in Plug and Play's Animal Health and Agtech program in Topeka can apply here:


About Plug and Play

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we have built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services, and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since inception in 2006, our programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 30 locations globally, giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 30,000 startups and 400 official corporate partners, Plug and Play has created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. Companies in our community have raised over $9 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club and PayPal. For more information, visit


About Cargill

Cargill's 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 155 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit and our News Center.


SOURCE Plug and Play


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