MF Global Requires Rebuilding Farmer Trust, Roberts Says

The sudden collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd. will require lawmakers and regulators to rebuild farmer trust in commodity markets, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas said.

“We have to convince our farmers and ranchers that our financial markets are a viable risk-management tool,” Roberts, the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said today in a speech at a Washington conference organized by Farm Journal.

MF Global sought bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31 after making wrong-way bets on European sovereign debt. Congress and federal regulators including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating as much as $1.2 billion in missing customer funds.

The House Agriculture Committee last week voted to subpoena Jon S. Corzine, the former chairman and chief executive officer of MF Global, for a Dec. 8 hearing. The Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee separately announced plans to consider subpoenas for Corzine this week.

Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who leads the Senate farm panel, said she expected the committee will issue a subpoena today as Corzine, a former U.S. senator and Democratic governor of New Jersey, hasn’t responded to a request for testimony.

Roberts said MF Global is the “number-one” issue farmers have been asking him about in recent weeks.

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