Don Paarlberg died last Tuesday, Feb. 14, in West Lafayette, Ind. An agricultural economics professor, writer and farmer, Paarlberg advised three U.S. presidents, including as a special assistant to Dwight D. Eisenhower.



A memorial service is scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in West Lafayette.



According to an account in The New York Times today and his obituary Feb. 16 in the local Journal and Courier, Paarlberg was an adviser to four secretaries of agriculture -- Benson, Hardin, Butz, and Knebel -- and the Ford Foundation.



In the early and mid-1970s, he was the chief USDA economist, often reporting to the public and Congress about crop yields and farm prices.



The New York Times said: "Dr. Paarlberg, an academic with hands-on farming experience, was an assistant secretary of agriculture when Eisenhower chose him as a special assistant to the president in the late 1950s. He was entrusted with shepherding what became Food for Peace, formally known as Public Law 480, Title II, into existence and serving as its coordinator in its fledgling years, from 1958 to 1961.



"Food for Peace evolved from earlier famine relief efforts, particularly the part of the Marshall Plan that helped keep millions from starving in Europe after Word War II. By the early 1950's, American grain surpluses had grown to mountains, and Eisenhower sold the program to Congress as 'the basis for a permanent expansion of our exports of agricultural products with lasting benefits to ourselves and peoples of other lands.'



"'Food,' Eisenhower said, 'can be a powerful instrument for all the free world in building durable peace.'"



Paarlberg was born in Oak Glen, (now Lansing) Ill., in 1911. After his graduation from high school he remained at home to farm for eight years in Indiana during the Great Depression. He graduated in agricultural economics from Purdue in 1940 then went on to complete his master's (1942) Ph.D. (1947) from Cornell. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1946.



According to the obituary, Paarlberg remained a prolific writer late into his life, authoring or co-authoring nine books on a range of subjects in agriculture and economic policy. The last of these books, "The Agricultural Revolution of the 20th Century" co-authored with his nephew Philip Paarlberg, was published by Iowa State University Press in 2000.



Privately, for most of his life, he also wrote poetry. He decided at age 90 to publish a volume of his verses, most of which were written to his wife Eva, who died in 1997.



Paarlberg is survived by two sons: Don Jr. of Fairfax Va., and Robert of Watertown Mass., and one grandson, Michael. Two of his three brothers, Russell of Alabama and Horace "Hoey," of West Lafayette, survive him as well.



See Paarlberg's Purdue bio here.



SOURCE: The New York Times, BoilerStation.com, theJournal and Courier and Purdue University.