November 5, 2008



Brent Roberts, MSU Billings Library, 657-1655
Dr. Barbara Wheeling, College of Business, 657-1756
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Agriculture is big business in Montana, contributing more than $2 billion annually to the state’s economy. But the American system of agricultural lending favors collateral as the basis for loans rather than cash flows or profit. The result is a tendency to treat farm operations as real estate, rather than as a business.


That issue will be the next featured topic of the Montana State University Billings Library Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Barbara Wheeling, an accounting professor with the College of Business.


Barbary WheelingWheeling’s lecture “The Inevitability of Accounting in Agriculture” will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 2-3:30 p.m. in Library 205 on the MSU Billings main campus, 1500 University Drive. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.


Wheeling, who has been teaching at MSU Billings for four years, is a North Dakota native and has deep roots in agriculture. She has used her distinctive farm and accounting backgrounds to author what is now the only comprehensive ag accounting textbook in the United States.


Wheeling said that agricultural producers have little incentive to become more business-oriented when funding for operations or capital improvements is based on land values over which they have little control. However, she said, when land values decline, agricultural producers no longer have the asset base that can support additional loans and in some cases, cannot service the existing loans.


She maintains that agricultural producers should take it upon themselves to learn techniques — such as strategic management and accounting — to help make business decisions about their operations. At the same time, parties closely involved with agricultural producers (such as accountants, consultants, lenders and educators) can assist in the transition from little or no control of the financial situation of agricultural operations to strategic decision-making.


Wheeling received her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in 1999, and has an MBA with Accounting and Finance emphasis from the University of Wyoming and a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from North Dakota State University. She is a member of the Board of Directors and Technical Committee of the Farm Financial Standards Council.


She has been widely published, including the articles “Alternatives to GAAP for the Agricultural Industry” in Today's CPA and “Accounting for Agricultural Producers,” a monograph for Bureau of National Affairs in Washington, DC. Her book “Introduction to Agricultural Accounting” was published in 2007.


The MSU Billings Library Lecture Series showcases the research and scholarly work of MSU Billings faculty. For more information about the series, contact Brent Roberts, associate director of the library, at 657-1655.


Please come and support the cheerleading team and get your car washed in the process.