Remembering Dr. Neil Harl

November 10, 2021 | Kristine A. Tidgren

Neil Harl

It is impossible to overstate the impact of Dr. Neil Harl on the field of agricultural law and taxation. It is also impossible to put into words the legacy he left with his many students and the agricultural community at large.

Every day that I head to my office, I walk by a portrait of Dr. Harl as I pass through the Neil and Darlene Harl Commons in Curtiss Hall, a student sanctuary made possible by the financial support of Dr. Harl and his wife, Darlene. Numerous times throughout a typical week, I consult a treatise or an outline or a book written by Dr. Harl to begin researching a new legal or tax question that impacts thousands of agricultural producers. As I meet with people throughout the country, I continue to receive reports of the lasting impact of Dr. Harl’s agricultural law course upon students who took the course decades ago. The stories recount similar impressions: his photographic memory, his rapid-fire delivery, his unrivaled work ethic, and his passion for ensuring that his students were well-equipped to navigate the tangle of laws and regulations they would encounter during their careers.

It is because of Dr. Harl’s unparalleled impact on the field of agricultural law and taxation that the Board of Regents established the Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation at Iowa State University in 2006. I am grateful every day for the contributions Dr. Harl made to the body of law we continue to study and explain. His legacy continues to improve the lives of those he so diligently sought to serve.

From the Department of Economics

Emeritus Professor Neil Harl passed away Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. He was 88.

Harl (’55 ag and life sciences education, ’65 PhD economics) was a faculty member at Iowa State for more than 50 years. His many areas of expertise included organization of the farm firm, taxation, estate planning, and legal and economic aspects of farm finance.

Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at Adams Funeral Home, 502 Douglas Ave., Ames. A funeral service will be held at 12:00 pm Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at the First United Methodist Church, 516 Kellogg Ave., Ames.

Burial will be in the Iowa State University Cemetery in Ames.

In appreciation for the profound impact Iowa State had on his life as a student, he and his wife, Darlene, provided financial support for the Neil and Darlene Harl Commons in Curtiss Hall. In celebrating Dr. Harl's contributions to both Iowa State University and Iowa's broad agricultural community, his family requests donations in lieu of gifts be made to a scholarship fund that Dr. Harl created just before his death, the Dr. Neil Harl Opportunity Award #270620. Contributions can be sent to Iowa State University Foundation, 310 Curtiss Hall, 513 Farm House Lane, Ames, Iowa, 50011, noting fund #270620.