At Watts and Associates, we develop and demonstrate data-driven risk management strategies for agricultural leaders

We Are W&A

Watts and Associates was founded in the 1980s by Tim Watts to help farmers and ranchers navigate the challenges of the farm crisis. Since that time, we’ve grown from a single dedicated applied economist to a diverse team of specialists. Today, W&A’s staff work from one of our two offices (Bozeman, MT and our Headquarters in Billings, MT) or from their farms or homes spread across the country.

W&A works at the crossroads of Agriculture and Economics, with specific expertise in agricultural insurance, farm policy, program design, producer and agent education, and creation of web-based software to support financial decision making. Our skilled team members are at the heart of the value we bring to our clients.

Watts and Associates team photo taken April 2, 2022

Our Founder

Tim Watts was raised on a cattle ranch in Eastern Montana. It was on this ranch that he acquired the work ethic that has served him well throughout the various stages of his career. Never veering from his agricultural background, Tim followed the Code of the West (Cowboy Ethics, James P. Owen) and instilled it in everyone he touched in his business dealings.

Having earned a Master’s Degree of Applied Economics from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, Tim began to use his skills as a visionary while working for the Extension Service on cost of production studies. He began connecting the dots of how to use technology to help farmers and ranchers, and this became a passion. He continued to connect those dots through various companies he founded over the years, culminating in the formation of Watts and Associates Management Analysis in 1986 (still operational) and then Watts and Associates, Inc. in 1992. Watts and Associates Management Analysis was the largest restructuring operation of its type (1,300 ranch and farm restructures, 200 business restructures combined in restructuring $1-2 billion in debt and $1-2 billion in assets) in the United States with over a 90% success rate while the national average was 10%.

Watts and Associates, Inc. worked in conjunction with Watts and Associates Management Analysis in building out efforts with farm and ranch clients by doing estate planning for ~$300 million in assets, as well as providing expert witness testimony on damage calculations for IRS, DOJ, US Attorney, and numerous private clients. In 1999, the Crop Insurance Division of Watts and Associates, Inc. was born as it would intercede on an existing contract between Montana State University and the USDA Risk Management Agency on Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

No stranger to dramatic shifts in business philosophy, with the passing of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, Tim “bet the farm” on applying for a Base Contract to be one of four organizations allowed to bid on contracts with the Risk Management Agency on crop insurance initiatives. This became the bedrock of what the Crop Insurance Division of Watts and Associates, Inc. is today. As those government contracts have steadily waned, Tim, ever the visionary and not afraid to take risks, founded multiple other entities, each with their own technology play in helping assist the agricultural community. From eWeatherRisk, to Verified Beef, LLC, to the International Institute for Agricultural Risk Management, to United States Livestock Producers, Tim has been on the bleeding edge of implementing technology in order to make the lives of agriculture stakeholders better not just the United States, but multiple countries including: Canada, India, and Ukraine. He led the charge as Watts and Associates, Inc. began creating crop insurance products using financial engineering which allowed the policies to be rated in real-time. He also was instrumental in creating Federal law whereby agricultural producer groups are given a vehicle to introduce new crop insurance products via the 508(h) process, even testifying before Congress to make this happen.

In 2010, the Western Agricultural Economics Association awarded Tim “For Making an Enduring Contribution to Agricultural, Resource and/or Environmental Economics in the Western States and the WAEA”. Tim has truly been a visionary in the agricultural space and his dedication has no doubt improved the lives of many.

Since retirement in 2022, Tim can be found back home on the family ranch, up in the Beartooth mountains enjoying the snow, offering counsel to Watts and Associates, Inc. as requested, working with Leachman Cattle of Colorado on his own herd, and spending time with family.

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