Tyson Fined for Commodities Violations

Aug. 16, 2021
$1.5 million civil penalty for exceeding soybean meal futures on Chicago Board of Trade.

Tyson Foods Inc. was fined $1.5 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for exceeding position limits for soybean meal futures contracts traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and for failing to comply with reporting and recordkeeping obligations regarding its cash positions in grains.

The order and settlement, announced Aug. 13, found that on more than 590 dates over a five-year period between January 2016 and January 2021, Tyson held positions in CBOT soybean meal futures in excess of then-applicable federal position limits. Tyson did so without the benefit of a hedge exemption for soybean meal.

On those dates, Tyson’s positions were, on average, 2,473 contracts (38%) over the then-applicable 6,500-contract limit, and its net long futures positions exceeded the limit by as much as 7,057 contracts.

The order also found that, in all but two months from at least January 2016 through August 2020, Tyson filed with the CFTC incorrect Form 204 (Statements of Cash Positions in Grain) that reported non-existent fixed-price cash sales of soybean meal, overstated fixed-price cash sales of corn, and failed to report purchases and sales from Tyson’s grain elevators.

The order also finds that Tyson failed to maintain certain records of cash transactions relating to futures positions in excess of position limits.

The settlement recognizes Tyson’s "substantial cooperation" with the investigation, including its self-reporting of additional violations after commencement of the investigation. As a result, the civil monetary penalty was reduced.

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