Minn. Farmer To Testify On MF Global Collapse

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota farmer told a Senate panel Tuesday he wants to know what became of $253,000 of his money that’s gone missing in the collapse of commodities trading firm MF Global Inc.

Dean Tofteland, who raises corn, soybeans and pigs near Luverne, told the Senate Agriculture Committee that whoever was responsible for the disappearance of money from client accounts like his must be held accountable. He reminded the panel that brokers are required to keep client money separate from company funds and said co-mingling such accounts amounts to stealing.

“This money was real money in real banks. It wasn’t under somebody’s mattress,” he said. “Somebody at the company knows where the money’s at. We have to ask, if there’s a debit there has to be a credit. Where’s the credit?”

Tofteland and other victims of the eighth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history testified just before former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine underwent his second interrogation before Congress in less than a week. An estimated $1.2 billion in client funds are missing.

Corzine told the panel he never told anyone to “misuse” customer money. Two other top executives also tried at the hearing to distance themselves from any decision to transfer the money, and all three said they don’t know where the money is.

Farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses use brokerages like MF Global to trade on the futures markets to help reduce their risks in an industry vulnerable to swings in crop, oil and other commodity prices.

Tofteland stressed his sense of betrayal as he waits to see if he will recover all of his money in his MF Global futures and options account and another $100,000 he lost when he was forced to liquidate hedges.

“These funds were not an investment in MF Global,” Tofteland testified. “These funds were not a loan to MF Global. These funds were simply collateral required by the exchange as a guarantee for my promise to deliver the bushels that I priced.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat and committee member who invited Tofteland to testify, said in a statement that it’s estimated that more than 100 Minnesota farmers and businesses who had critical accounts with MF Global have been unable to access their funds since the firm filed for bankruptcy in October.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • GN

    Mr. Tofteland has received over a million dollars in farm welfare all at taxpayer expense. Ms Klobuchar had him there for the sniffle effect. Pull his farm welfare and give him something to really whine about!!!!!!!!
    How about you working class folks, did other taxpayers provide you with the funds to invest $200k in MF Global. The wild part is that you work harder than Mr. Tofteland.

    • get over it

      I have known Dean and his family all my life. Your assertions are absurd and based upon petty ignorant resentment. The global market which shafted farmers for a century is finally working in their favor and all you can do is whine. You know nothing about farming. Dean was working harder at age ten than you ever have or will. Get over it.

      • GN

        No, Mr. Tofteland couldn’t hold a candle to my workload or my work ethic.
        I put in 16 hours a day 12 months a year to keep my head above water only to have some SOB collect the fruits of my labor. I am not union nor a government employee you don’t know me at all. I can only assume you are another farmer or farmer’s wife. I have land, cattle, hold a full time job and collect not a nickels worth of welfare nor would I accept it. Welfare is not my cup of tea.

      • a little research

        Actually those assertions aren’t absurd. Poor, poor, Mr. Tofteland did receive over a million dollars in subsidies from 1995-2010. He may be a hard worker, but he also received subsidies.

        Here’s a link:


        • so what?

          And of course farming is the only industry to receive government aid, subsidies, or tax breaks. According to the rules of class warfare apparently, one can only be resentment free if the government has absolutely nothing to do with their bottom line. That would leave, ummmmm, nobody.

          • Thieves!

            The real issue is, no matter what kind of subsidies he received, those crooks still stole his money!

          • durr

            According to the rules of class warfare, anyone who receives government aid is obviously a lazy slob! Ask any right-wing nutjob, it’s better to just lump them all together, it’s easier to discriminate!

  • Reality sucks

    Yeah, this is a bummer—I’ll give it that. But look, speculative trading activity in the hands of a greedy operative involves substantial risk. If the Euro bet would have panned out, the story would be revering MF as an all-star Fund management firm. Don’t fool yourselves. Your 401K’s and IRA’s are in the same boat. No new regulation out of Washington is going to stop the greed and gambling. Remember, this regulation is highly lobbied and slanted toward the fat cats. No ones going to jail here. There are plenty of smart bell ringer economists out there that warn to run for cover and get out now. If you don’t– your losses are yours. The key is preservation for the next 10 years.

  • NAS

    That’s our money that the idiot lost to those idiots.

    • baloney

      Ridiculous. Dean has worked hard and farmed smart. You and the taxpayers have absolutely no role in any success he has earned. It is sickening to see such whining class resentment. Anyone who does well and succeeds must have done so unfairly or with government help. Farming has rarely been profitable, but now that the global market is actually working in their favor they must endure ignorant resentment from those who resent any success but their own. You have absolutely no idea what it takes to survive on the farm.

      • Dean is a tool

        Dean would not have a farm if it weren’t for tax payers. Dean may have been a smart farmer but he most certainly was not a smart investor and when people don’t invest their money wisely that’s what happens, they lose it, but in Dean’s case, he is just becoming a political tool instead.

      • NAS

        Are you kidding me? The Farm industry has been lavished with billions of tax payer’s dollars. Not to mention how things will be when corn starts to be used more and more for fuel as opposed to food and animal feed. Farmers then will be no different than oil companies and we’ll still be funding them.

        • How much do you actually contribute?

          In comparison to the rest of the world, we pay a very small percentage of our income for food. You want your cheap food? Then quit whining about what amounts to very little out of your taxes that is used to support a strategic industry.

          • GN

            No such thing as cheap food here. What you and so many others do not calculate in is the additional percentage of cost for farm welfare. The cost of government employees to administer the programs. The tax dollars paid for ethanol subsidies and the government employees that administer that program.
            The increase cost in land prices which has caused and increase in tax costs without and offsetting value in non-farm land forced by farmers because of the welfare system. Add all those additional costs taken under the table to the food bill and our food is extremely expensive. Eliminate all farm welfare programs and special tax provisions to farmers, eliminate the government employees that administer these programs and I will then show you cheaper food.

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