Saturday, December 10, 2011

MF Global fallout delays U.S. farm seed, land deals

For the first time in 25 years, Minnesota farmer Dean Tofteland has missed his deadline to buy seed for next spring's corn and soybean crops.

With $200,000 of his money yet to be returned from the accounts of MF Global, his former broker, the 49-year-old farmer has missed a $5,000 discount for early buyers, and is watching friends and neighbors snap up the best varieties of seeds.

In the latest sign of how MF Global's failure is continuing to cascade across the commodity industry, Tofteland and other farmers who have yet to recover more than a third of their money from the bankrupt broker now find themselves in a cash crunch that risks rippling far beyond the futures market.

Some farmers have had to postpone purchases of land or equipment. Tofteland still expects to sow his 1,000 acres in the southwest corner of the state, but may have to borrow money to do so. more