Board of Directors

Myles J. Watts, PhD.
Chairman of the Board

Professor Watts is Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Montana State University. He has more than 20 years experience in crop insurance actuarial/econometric/statistical analysis and program development. Risk Management Agency, USDA, has qualified Dr. Watts as a consulting Lead Actuary. His actuarial analysis is in use in numerous RMA, USDA programs. He is the Lead Actuary for W&A on 38 crop insurance development and analysis projects. He is a principal architect of the actuarial approach for the Selected Crop Climate Insurance and for the index-based Area Grassland Index Insurance. In addition he has consulted with Zurich Re, Converium Re, Swiss Re, and Endurance Re on portfolio and other risk management issues as well as other private and public entities on a variety of topics. Dr. Watts has been involved in the development and analysis of crop insurance in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, and India, as well as the United States. He has published in all major agricultural and resource economic academic journals. He is a Distinguished Scholar of the Western Agricultural Economics Association and was editor of the Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics. Dr. Watts teaches classes that include risk management at Montana State University and has about 50 speaking engagements annually. He is a member of the Board of the University of Montana College of Business, Montana Council for Economic Education, and Verified Beef.

Gus Schumacher Jr., PhD
Vice Chairman of the Board

As former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA from 1997 to 2001, Gus Schumacher oversaw the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Risk Management Agency. During his time as Undersecretary at USDA, Schumacher was President of the Commodity Credit Corporation and Chairman of the Federal Crop Insurance Board where he oversaw the development and early implementation of the reformed national crop insurance legislation, the Agricultural Risk Protection Act. Prior to his appointment, Schumacher served as Administrator of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, worked as a senior agri-lender for the World Bank, and served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has a degree in economics from Harvard College, studied at the London School of Economics and was a research associate in agribusiness at the Harvard Business School, working with Professor Ray A. Goldberg. Schumacher, along with Cathy Bertini, former Director of the World Food Program and Professor Robert Thompson, Gardner Professor of Agricultural Economics at Illinois, oversaw the preparation of Task Force Report of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, titled “Modernizing America’s Food and Farm Policy: Vision for a New Direction”. (2007) Schumacher currently is a Consultant to the Food and Society Initiative at the Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek. He also directs the Washington operations of SJH and Company of Boston, Massachusetts, an agri-strategy firm. He currently is Chairman of the Wholesome Wave Foundation in Westport Connecticut and serves on the Boards of eFarm, FreshFarm Markets, the Environmental Power Corporation and GrainPro.

Tim Watts, Watts and Associates (W&A), CEO and Founder
Board Member

Tim Watts is responsible and directly involved in the management of all W&A projects. W&A has completed over 40 crop insurance projects. These projects encompass all aspects of crop insurance development, including underwriting, actuarial, adjusting, contract policy development, implementation infrastructure, capital requirements, reinsurance, personnel related issues, and related government policies/regulation/bureaucracy. W&A has been involved in seminal efforts in the US with both index-based and indexing based development efforts. W&A has evaluated and developed crop insurance programs in Canada and India, and has been involved in substantive discourse on the current Brazilian insurance program. W&A has consulted with Zurich Re, Converium Re, Swiss Re and Endurance Re on risk management issues. Besides risk management, W&A’s scope of business covers many aspects of financial management, not all of which are agriculturally focused. These involvements have scanned the gamut of small individual entrepreneurs to large international corporations.


Goals for the Institute

Developing Countries:
To develop sustainable agricultural risk management programs for developing countries that result in economic stability and new sources of “risk capital” for their agriculture sectors.

Developed Countries:
To provide a training, succession planning, and “analytical research capability” environment for developed country governments and private companies engaged or expanding their work in agricultural risk management.

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Web Site Last Updated
April 15, 2010