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Founded in 1902 and incorporated in 1923, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world. It supplies many of the inputs for agricultural production, buys the crops from the field, processes them into food for humans and animals, fuels, and chemicals, and sells them all over the economy—and lobbies, very successfully, to obtain and retain the legislation that makes the entire operation profitable.

It is profitable. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005, ADM reported net earnings of $1,044 billion, or $1.59 per share, compared with $495 million, or $0.76 per share, in the previous year. Profits were up in Europe, South America, and Asia. So the board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.085 per share on ...

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