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Cargill Inc. is reorganizing its animal-nutrition unit to respond to a growing concern among consumers and farmers over animal health and wellness, the company said Wednesday.

The Minnetonka-based agribusiness is adding the word "health" to its animal-nutrition segment and is creating a new business group within it called Cargill Health Technologies that will focus on digestive health and immunology for farm animals.

"The animal protein market is evolving, and consumer focus on animal health and well-being is becoming increasingly important," David Webster, head of Cargill Animal Nutrition and Health, said in a statement. "It's a key area for growth, and we intend to better serve customers in this rapidly evolving market."

The new Cargill Health Technologies business is meant to better incorporate two of Cargill's recent acquisitions, Delacon and Diamond V. Delacon researches and develops feed additives aimed at improving animal health and performance or reducing the environmental effect of livestock production.

Diamond V uses microbial fermentation to create feed products that work with the animal's natural biology as a way to reduce dependence on antibiotics. Both operate deep within the world's food-supply chain, leveraging technology as a way to address macro public health and environmental issues.

Chuck Warta has been named the group leader of the new health technology business and will report to Webster.

"By elevating Cargill Health Technologies into a stand-alone business — and adding 'health' to our name — we will be able more rigorously focus on innovation and create products that push performance and enhance animal and human health," Webster said in the statement.

Aqua Nutrition will remain its own business, led by Pilar Cruz. Cargill will combine its pre-mix business and feed business into one called "animal nutrition," to be led by Adriano Marcon. The pre-mix business sells ingredients to farmers and ranchers who may want to create their own livestock feeds, while the feed business sells Cargill-mixed formulas.

The company said it often will receive calls from customers interested in placing orders, but who need to be transferred to the other business. By putting them together, Cargill's customers will get one stop for livestock food, a spokeswoman said.

The aqua, feed and new health technologies businesses will all sit under the "Animal Nutrition & Health" umbrella.

Animal Nutrition is currently combined with Cargill's protein operations, which include beef and poultry, as one of the company's four large reporting segments. For the time being, animal nutrition and protein will continue reporting jointly, a Cargill spokeswoman said.

Changes to the structure will begin Oct. 1. Animal Nutrition & Health employs around 20,000 people of Cargill's 160,000 global workforce.

Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767