Distinguished AgEcon Alumni

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Anetra L. Harbor

M.S., Agricultural Economics, 2002, PhD, Agricultural Economics, 2006, Purdue University

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Anetra Harbor, M.S. 2002, Ph.D. 2006, has held economist and analyst positions with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) since 2006. She is currently a policy analyst with USDNs Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Beltsville, MD. She is a member of NRCS’s Resource Economics, Analysis and Policy Division (REAPD). As a member of REAPD, her primary responsibility is to provide guidance and support for NRCS’s overall regulatory activities. She has a key role in the development, coordination, and clearance of NRCS regulations and notices. These documents, which are published in the Federal Register for the public, serve as the official mechanism by which NRCS’s conservation programs are administered. For the bulk of the past two years, her work has been directed toward preparatory activities needed to respond to the enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill. The majority of NRCS’s programs are authorized through the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill. Her notable achievements with USDA include: chairing NRCS’s Regulatory Working Group, temporarily serving as the Acting Director for NRCS’s Budget Planning and Analysis Division, assisting with the promulgation of more than 35 rules and notices to implement the conservation provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill, serving as Administrator for NRCS’s portion of the Federal Docket Management System, and conducting economic analyses covering various topics.

Which Purdue faculty member had the most profound impad on your professional career? Every member of the Purdue Agricultural Economics faculty I came into contact with inspired me in some way. I remember something enduring about each one. In particular, Dr. Marshall Martin and Dr. Jay Akridge guided me through my graduate research and I was able to observe their passion for their craft, dedication to helping others, and commitment to the College of Agriculture and to Purdue University. This left the biggest impression on me as I graduated and went on to my first job as an economist with United States Department of Agriculture. What part of your visit back to campus in March are you most looking forward to? I want to see how much things have changed. I can’t wait to talk with professors and students, find out what new classes or areas of study are being offered, and see what new buildings are up or renovated around campus. I haven’t had a chance to visit Indiana since graduation back in 2006, so I especially want to get a good look around the Lafayette-West Lafayette community. It was my home for six years.

What is the best advice you got while you were at Purdue? Who gave you the advice? Dr. Otto Doering would give us all the best advice that applies to graduate school and life beyond- "Just hang in there."

What is the best advice you have ever given? To whom did you give the advice? I actually have two pieces of advice that I find myself using when talking to my children. "In life you need a little bit of luck, skill, and will." This one my son pretty much has memorized (of course, he plays football and thinks everything in life is a competition so he’s keen on the skill and will part). My daughter is getting close to graduating high school and the pressure of standardized tests and college applications is increasing. I have to remind her that "Sometimes your best is good enough."


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