Yes, it’s possible. Unless the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act throws a wrench or two into the machine.

In any case, derivatives trading sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. As one family farmer explained today:

On the purchasing side, I also use derivatives to protect myself from swings in the cost of fertilizer, fuel and other staples. In the past two years, my nitrogen fertilizer has ranged from $435 to $685 per ton, and my fuel bills are giving me whiplash. While reading through the Dodd-Frank act these past few weeks, I’ve been wondering: Will the regulations on swaps make it more difficult for me to hedge against market swings in prices for crops and supplies?

According to the language of the law, sometime later this year it will become unlawful to enter into swaps “in excess of such amount as shall be fixed from time to time” by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But what will that amount be, and when will we find out? What is meant by “from time to time”?

Luckily, it looks as if the regulations are unlikely to intentionally restrict family farmers like me from trading futures. And the trading commission may carve out special protections for farmers in the next few months as the legislation goes into effect. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not worried about the act’s unintended consequences.

Update: If you’re interested in learning more about Dodd-Frank, GrantThornton has a useful overview.