Renewable Farming

Life of Dr. Neil E. Harl leaves a powerful legacy and inspiration for all farmers

I remember introducing Dr. Neil Harl this way at many Professional Farmers of America seminars:

“Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen your pencils. Dr. Harl speaks at 250 words per minute, with gusts up to 300. But every word will be perfectly clear.”

Dr. Neil Harl

Nov. 8, 2021  By Jerry Carlson   We’ve never posted an “obit” on this site. We focus on life and how to make farming abundant. But Dr. Neil Harl of Iowa State University was an exceptional pathfinder through the thickets of ag economics and law. He died Nov. 4 at age 88. We’ve linked to his obituary here as it appears in the Des Moines Register

I graduated from Iowa State with a masters in economics and journalism just a few years before Dr. Harl joined the faculty in 1965. But in later years I wrote many articles based on his books, academic papers and presentations. I last visited with Dr. Harl at a July 7, 2007 funeral where he paid special tribute to an honored Pro Farmer member, Vince Branigan of Pocahontas, Iowa. As I recall, Vince attended every one of Dr. Harl’s presentations at Pro Farmer seminars over many years. 

At Pro Farmer, we worked closely with Dr. Harl during the farmland price crush of the 1980s.

Dr. Harl gave more than 3,400 seminar presentations, many of them at Pro Farmer seminars, and others in 43 states and 17 foreign nations. He published 29 books, many of which guided farmers through financial and regulatory stress. 

He’s a guide and inspiration for us all.