BOZEMAN - The Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host an agricultural economics conference, “Managing Land Resources in the Context of Variable Weather” on Friday, Nov. 3, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in MSU’s Procrastinator Theater, located in the Strand Union Building.

The conference, part of the  annual Celebrate Agriculture event in MSU’s College of Agriculture, will feature several MSU agricultural economics and Extension faculty speakers on topics of interest to Montana’s agricultural industry, including: farm finances, drought, land valuation, public lands, peas and lentils, and farm policy.

Joel Schumacher, MSU Extension associate specialist, said the annual conference is an opportunity for university economists to share and discuss research highlights with Montana agricultural stakeholders.

“Part of what makes this conference such a highlight for both the presenters and the attendees is that so much of the work that goes on here is based on issues specifically relevant to our agricultural community,” Schumacher said. “MSU faculty and specialists are committed to the research as much as those working in the production agricultural sector are, so there’s a natural fit where presenters and attendees are equally invested in the topics.”

The conference’s guest M.L. Wilson speaker is Paul Jakus, who will present his lecture, “Can States Afford a Public Land Transfer?” Jakus is a professor at Utah State University in the Department of Applied Economics. He is also director of the university’s Center for Society, Economy and the Environment. Jakus’s research relates to the costs and benefits of public land ownership in the American West. His scholarship has drawn wide public interest, with the ownership of public lands and their usage in the national spotlight the past year. 

Friday’s conference speakers include Anton Bekkerman, associate professor of agricultural economics, who will speak on farm finances in distressed markets and Joe Janzen, MSU assistant professor of agricultural economics, who will speak on peas and lentils. Eric Belasco, MSU associate professor of agricultural economics, will speak on drought, weather and cattle and Kate Fuller, MSU assistant professor of agricultural economics, will discuss Montana land valuation and rental rates. Richard Ready, MSU professor of agricultural economics, will discuss public lands in Montana and Vince Smith, MSU professor of agricultural economics, will provide a Farm Bill 2018 policy update.

Conference registration is $25 and includes a hosted lunch with comments from Bruce Maxwell regarding the agriculture portion of the recently released Montana Climate Assessment.

The conference will conclude with an afternoon panel session discussing issues pertaining to rural economies. The panelists will include Paddy Flemming with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center,Anne Boothe with Triangle Communications, and Jan Brown representing the Montana Cooperative Development Center.

Those interested in attending can call 406-994-3511 to register or register online at, where a full conference agenda can be found.

Source: MSU

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