Montana State University

MSU's Watts voted vice chairman of Farmer Mac

April 16, 2012


Myles Watts, an MSU agricultural economics professor, recently was elected vice chairman of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Farmer Mac. Watts was appointed to the 15-member board in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Watts is a native of Ismay, outside Miles City, and received his bachelor's degree at MSU, returning to his alma mater in 1978. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Montana State University economist Myles Watts has been voted vice chairman of the Farmer Mac board of directors.

Watts was voted to the position by his peers on the 15-member board of directors of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Farmer Mac.

Watts was appointed to the board by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010. The board generally meets at least six times a year in Washington, D.C., to address a variety of issues relating to lending practices and policies including meeting the regulating requirements of a secondary market for agricultural loans and rural utility loans.

In addition to serving in the absence of chairman Lowell Junkins of Iowa, Watts serves as chairman of Farmer Mac's public policy committee and serves on the finance and credit committees, which oversees generated funds used to buy loans from banks.

Unlike the similarly named Freddie Mac, Watts said that Farmer Mac is "financially sound. We do lots of business in Montana."

He said that the work is not only fascinating and important, and it also benefits students at MSU.

"It provides me a lot of material to complement my teaching in agriculture management and finance," Watts said. "Secondary markets are an important component of financing our economy including the agricultural sector. It is unusual that a university professor has the opportunity to bring this type of experience into the classroom."

Watts is a native of Ismay, who received his undergraduate degree at Montana State and his doctorate from the University of Nebraska. He returned to his alma mater in 1978 and served 17 years as head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics. His current responsibilities include classroom teaching, research and outreach education. Watts has served in various editorial capacities for the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He has also received multiple honors and awards from professional associations, including the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

He has advised many governments and private organizations, including large international reinsurance companies on an array of financial issues, mostly focusing on agricultural insurance. He serves on a variety of nonprofit economic education groups as a board member or in other leadership positions. His family still owns and operates the cattle and wheat ranch where he was raised in southeastern Montana.

Myles Watts (406) 994-3704, mwatts@montana.edu