MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill announced on Dec. 2 that it will reduce its workforce by up to 2,000 of its 138,000 employees globally, a change of about 1.5%.

The majority of the reduction will take place over the next six months worldwide. Cargill is providing affected employees with severance and outplacement support in keeping with its policies and with local laws and regulations.

The company said these actions are in response to the continued weak global economy and are part of an overall effort to reduce expenses and simplify work processes.

"As economic conditions change, so must we," said Mike Fernandez, corporate vice-president of Cargill corporate affairs. "Regrettably, this impacts talented people who have made important contributions to our company. These are difficult decisions but are necessary to better position the company for continued growth."

The reductions are based on recommendations from Cargill's business units and functions as to how to best allocate resources, based on their specific situations. They are not the outcome of any companywide percentage mandate or uniform across-the-board cut, Cargill said. Rather, the goal is to ensure the company is focusing its resources on those activities that add the most value for its customers, the company said.