People ate more turkey and animals ate more feed last fall, and Cargill Inc. made more money on all of it.
The Minnetonka-based agribusiness distributor and trader on Tuesday said its operating profit jumped 80 percent to just more than $1 billion in its fiscal second quarter, which ended Nov. 30.
The company's animal feed and protein segment contributed the most to the overall increase.
It was shaped by strong results in North American whole-turkey sales before Thanksgiving and a rebound from the prior-year's rocky results in beef as cattle supply balanced out and demand rose.
In chicken, Cargill reported steady gains in Asia, leading to marked improvements in the global poultry group.
The company announced a joint venture last quarter with So Good Food that makes further-processed poultry products in Indonesia. Cargill also broke ground on a facility in the Philippines, that will make marinated chicken, and it is expanding its poultry facility in northeast Thailand that exports around the globe.
Cargill's industrial and financial services improved over a weak comparative quarter in 2016. The company traded in more active markets for crude oil, refined products, natural gas, electric power, ocean shipping and iron ore.
The company's net profit fell 29 percent to $986 million, a reflection of the difficult comparison against the year-earlier period when its bottom line was boosted by the sale of a pork-related business.
For the first six months of its fiscal year, the story was largely the same: adjusted operating earnings rose 57 percent while Cargill's net profit was down 3 percent, chiefly due to the comparison of the pork business transaction. First-half revenue of $54 billion was down 1 percent from last year.