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Cargill to exit crop insurance business with sale to Silveus

[CHIACAGO] Cargill Inc. agreed to sell its crop insurance unit, the latest move by the giant US agricultural commodity trader and producer to reshape its business amid low crop prices.

The insurance operation will be sold to Silveus Insurance Group, Minneapolis-based Cargill said Tuesday in a statement. Closely held Cargill didn't disclose terms on the deal, which is expected to close in mid-January. It entered the insurance business in 2007.

Crop insurance isn't core to the Cargill's grain business, Mark Klein, a spokesman, said in an e-mail Tuesday. The company said it can help farmers manage price risk through its grain marketing and other risk-management services.

The sale of its insurance unit caps a difficult year for Cargill. The company, which is still controlled by its eponymous founding family, reported its first quarterly net loss in 14 years in August amid sliding commodity prices and weakness in emerging markets. In September, Cargill announced the breakup and spinoff of investment arm Black River Asset Management. Brazil's JBS SA bought the company's US pork business in November.

Deere & Co and Monsanto Co have sold their crop-insurance businesses in 2015.