Farmer fights financial scandal – Dean Tofteland had $253,000 taken in the MF Global financial scandal, and has become a fighter among farmers to get money back. "Money doesn't vaporize," he says.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland has fought farm crises brought on by tragedy and Mother Nature. But this time, his problems were generated by the MF Global commodities firm.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland inspects young pigs at one of his hog barns outside Luverne, Minnesota. The stench of a hog barn, he says, pales in comparison to the stench of MF Global executives: "Our money was stolen and nobody is being held accountable."
Farmer fights financial scandal – A quote from Martin Luther lies inside an old barn on Tofteland's property. As spring approaches, Tofteland remains out tens of thousands of dollars. Farmers, ranchers and grain operators are among the 38,000 MF Global customers who had $1.2 billion taken in the scandal.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland is a third generation farmer in Minnesota. "When you plant the crop and all of a sudden the field is green, it matures and you tender it and care for it all summer, and the fall comes and it turns a golden brown," he says, "it's a great, great feeling."
Farmer fights financial scandal – For farmers like Tofteland, the MF Global case brings an air of disgust. "This wasn't an investment. It wasn't a loan to them," he says. "It was my money."
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland farms 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans. More recently, he's gotten involved in wind farming. "Look at the curvature of the blades," he says.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland climbs into a tractor on his farm. When word came in late October of the MF Global scandal, he thought everything he worked for might be lost.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Business doesn't slow down amid the scandal. Here, Tofteland discusses a potential land deal.
Farmer fights financial scandal – From left, Brad Mouw, Dean Tofteland and Mike Mouw discuss the MF Global scandal. "It sucks," Mike Mouw says. He and his brother run Mouw's Feed & Grain in Leota, population 222. They had $450,000 taken.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland delivers his corn to an ethanol plant. He uses the fuel for his truck and the ethanol byproduct is used for feed. "The most important thing a farmer can apply to his land is his footprint," he says.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland climbs down a ladder in a barn on his farm. The barn stands as a vestige of the past. Today's farm is all about efficiency and production.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland became the face of farming after he testified at the Senate Agriculture Committee in December and stared down Jon Corzine, the Democratic heavyweight who headed MF Global.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland says he's willing to speak up for the common man. "I just keep thinking about all those people out there that are affected and aren't able to have a say in what happens," he says.
Farmer fights financial scandal – Tofteland says he'll keep blazing a path for farmers until their money is returned.