Thursday, June 15, 2017

Member Profile: Anton Bekkerman

What do wine and weeds have in common?

Gophers falling from the sky and other things to keep an eye on.

You aren’t reading from the pages of a science fiction novel, these are headlines of recent articles at – a website launched by AAEA member Anton Bekkerman and a team of colleagues at Montana State University.

Check out the website and you’ll find more than just stories on weeds and gophers; Bekkerman says the website was intended to focus on a broad range of agricultural economics issues impacting the northern Great Plains, a region Bekkerman says is not as widely or frequently addressed.

“We wanted to create a modern, sustainable and effective outreach and extension program that provided an opportunity to communicate highly current and relevant research and information to the stakeholders who are most likely to benefit from this information,” Bekkerman said.

This website is a first of its kind for the region, and Bekkerman says the website communicates information across a variety of mediums, including blog posts, podcasts, and presentations. The website covers a wide variety of topics and, because of that, Bekkerman says there isn’t one particular group coming to the site for information and analysis.

“Our key audience ranges from producers, to those within the food supply chain, to those in academia,” Bekkerman said. “Many of the discussions, such as government program analysis, trade policy discussions, and labor market dynamics have implications well outside the northern Great Plains region.”

“We have seen website visitors from every state in America and many other countries.”

Bekkerman is an associate professor of agricultural economics and Montana State whose teaching focus is courses on Managerial Economics and the Economics of Agricultural Marketing.

He has been an AAEA member since 2007. Bekkerman says he will be at the 2017 AAEA Annual Meeting in Chicago presenting “work that models factors affecting grain elevators’ pricing decisions for wheat of different quality." Bekkerman says his research was prompted by a presentation he saw during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Boston.

“The association provides great visibility, networking, and professional development opportunities that I would have otherwise not have had or not have,” Bekkerman said. “I took several opportunities to be in leadership positions for several AAEA sections and as a selected papers group leader early in my career, and that certainly helped make me more visible to more established colleagues in the profession.”

It’s an opportunity Bekkerman and the team at MSU is now sharing with others through – and giving agricultural economists another avenue to share their knowledge and insight.

“Often, really good research is only targeted to appear in an academic journal which may not be frequently accessed outside of academia,” Bekkerman said. “Similarly, extension professionals may develop informational content that is unlikely to ever appear in an academic journal. We want our project to reduce these barriers.”

Get to know AAEA Members:
Anton Bekkerman: “I'm originally from the Ukraine (immigrating to the United States in 1991), a country colloquially known as Europe's 'bread basket' because of its high capacity to produce agricultural products (especially wheat). And while not from an agricultural background, it's neat that my career has come full circle to working on not only topics in agriculture, but specifically to the economics of crop production and marketing.”

 If you have an idea for a news release or a member profile, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office (

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