The History of Cargill Salt

Cargill began shipping grain down the Mississippi River in the late 1940s, but finding cargo for the return trip proved to be a challenge. In 1955 Ray King, vice president of Cargill’s barge business, made the decision to buy a barge load of Louisiana rock salt as backhaul cargo. Although it took a year to sell that first load, Cargill’s salt business was launched.


  • Mine Image 110The backhaul salt business grew steadily, and by 1960 Cargill management was convinced that rock salt was a good fit for the company and began looking for opportunities to become a salt producer. Cargill acquired mineral rights in Belle Isle, Louisiana, and began construction of a rock salt mine. The first barge of Belle Isle rock salt was loaded in December 1962.


  • Produsal Image 110Business grew rapidly, and over the years Cargill acquired a number of other salt production facilities -- rock salt mines, evaporated salt plants and solar salt operations -- in Kansas, New York, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma and Australia. In 1995, Cargill formed a joint venture to construct a solar salt facility in Venezuela. Cargill Salt doubled in size in April 1997 when it acquired the North American assets of Akzo Nobel Salt, Inc.


  • Spoons Image 110Today, Cargill Salt produces, packages and ships salt for the following 5 major market segment applications: agricultural, food, water conditioning, industrial and packaged ice control. Cargill makes over 1,000 different salt products/package sizes and markets national and regional brands, including Diamond Crystal® branded household consumer food and water softener salt products and Champion's Choice® branded agricultural salts. With approximately 14 million tons of salt capacity, Cargill is one of the leading salt marketers in the world.