A Cargill spokesman told us: “Our animal nutrition innovation center in Elk River, Minnesota experienced a fire last week in an exterior, stand-alone barn. The fire was contained and no employees were injured. The cause of the fire is still being determined. We are grateful for the partnership and swift response of the local fire department. The safety of our employees and our animals remains our top priority as we return to work.”
The Elk River innovation center is one of five global animal nutrition innovation facilities run by Cargill.
In November last year, there was blaze at one of Cargill's animal nutrition and health production facilities in the US - a fire broke out in a hopper at a manufacturing unit in Temple, Texas. Firefighters responded immediately and the fire was declared under control one hour later. There were no injuries. Cargill had only opened, earlier that month, a $34m expansion of the facility, which employs 26, and has the capacity to produce nearly 500,000 tons of bag and bulk animal feed a year.
Meanwhile, looking at similar, recent events elsewhere in the agribusiness and feed sector, an Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) owned corn processing plant in Clinton, Iowa experienced a fire in February this year. That blaze was extinguished without any reported injuries or production being hindered at the plant.
The incident followed a more serious one at that same Clinton facility last year - a fire then broke out in a grain storage silo, with the blaze resulting in the death of an attending firefighter. Another responding firefighter was injured in the incident.
Explosion at UK plant
On the other side of the Atlantic, on June 19 this year, there was an explosion at an ADM oilseed crushing and refining plant in Erith, in southern England.
The BBC reported that the blast was accidental, citing investigators. London Fire Brigade said the incident at the factory in south-east London involved a diesel compressor.
ADM was forced to evacuate and shut down the plant following the explosion.
Three people were injured in the blast.
The Erith plant processes about 1m tons of rapeseed each year and produces about 385,00 tons of refined oil for food ingredients and biofuels. The meal produced from crushing operations is used as a feed ingredient by livestock producers across Britain, France and Ireland.