From WILL - News Headlines -

Archer Daniels Midland to Cut 1,000 Jobs

(With additional reporting from Illinois Public Radio)

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. says it will cut 1,000 jobs from its company-wide work force of 30,000. The move will cut about 15 percent of the Decatur-based company's corporate staff.

The news is a blow to the central Illinois community. Decatur City manager Ryan McCrady said he learned about the layoffs the same way others did, through news reports. The town received no advance warning.

Decatur is home to ADM's world headquarters. The agribusiness giant employs 4,000 people in the city. McCrady said it is too soon to know how many jobs will be lost locally, but he said he expects the community will be able to handle the cuts.

"They've been through these situations before," McCrady said. "This announcement isn't great news for us. But when you package it with all the other things that have gone on, it's two steps forward, one step back. And we'll get through this."

At this point, the impact on Decatur is uncertain. ADM spokesman David Weintraub said the company will not announce any layoffs until February, after a number of employees have been offered a voluntary retirement incentive.

"Employees who are 57 or older and have seven or more years of service and are salaried can elect to retire early, and we're giving them an inventive to do so," Weintraub said. "That will reduce the number of people who are affected."

Weintraub says the impact on any specific community won't be known immediately. He said the cuts were brought on by increased competition in the global agri-processing business, and the company is now focused on ways to improve productivity, as well as reduced energy usage.

McCrady said he has been told by the company the cuts will not affect production in the city.

"That's good news because of course ADM is a big player in Decatur, but there are many other smaller businesses that supply and support them," McCrady said. "So when you have a cut in production, it's a compounded negative effect on your community."

McCrady said all the city leaders can do is wait to see which jobs ADM targets. He said the city has proven resilient in the past. He also said the Decatur economy is cyclical. McCrady points to cuts Caterpillar made in 2009 during the downturn. Since then, that company has rehired many workers and re-invested in Decatur.

ADM does everything from processing crops to make food ingredients, to shipping grain overseas. The past year has been a volatile one for agribusiness companies, with crop prices swinging wildly on global markets.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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