Montana State University

MSU conference to focus on Montana agriculture in volatile times

September 29, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN - "Montana Agriculture in Volatile Times" will be the focus of a conference hosted by Montana State University Extension and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics on Oct. 28 in Bozeman.

The conference will feature experts on agricultural policy, livestock and grain markets, and the Montana economy, addressing current issues facing Montana agricultural producers. The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theatre in MSU's Strand Union Building.

Following the conference, at 3:30 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theatre, the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics will present the 2011 M.L. Wilson Lecturer, Michael Gerber. Gerber is president and CEO of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, better known as Farmer Mac. Farmer Mac provides secondary lending markets for loans to agricultural producers and rural utilities. His lecture will address uncertainty in agriculture from a lender's perspective.

The conference on agriculture volatility is designed to provide agricultural business leaders, agricultural bankers, producers, and others in agriculture with quality unbiased information about the issues facing Montana agriculture.

Conference speakers from MSU's Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics will include Myles Watts, a professor who serves on the board of Farmer Mac. He will comment on the status of U.S. and world agriculture in light of the financial turbulence of the past few years. George Haynes, agriculture policy specialist, will address the status of Montana agriculture. Professor Emeritus Doug Young will provide an update on government debts and deficits. Professor Vince Smith will examine the implications of the debt crisis on the next farm bill. Farm Management Specialist Duane Griffith and assistant professors Anton Bekkerman and Eric Belasco will explore the implications for Montana producers of volatility in livestock, grain and input prices.

Pat Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, will share an update on the state of the Montana economy. The conference will conclude with an update on the Montana Department of Agriculture by director Ron de Yong.

Early registration (ends Oct. 15) is $20 and includes a parking pass for Oct. 28. For more information and to register, visit or contact Keri Hayes at (406) 994-3511 or

This event is part of MSU's Agriculture Appreciation Weekend. A full schedule of events for the weekend is available at:

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or