December 10, 2023

A passion for Purdue agricultural programs: University mourns loss of D. Howard Doster

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University College of Agriculture is mourning the loss of one of its own as D. Howard Doster, professor emeritus of agricultural economics, passed away on Feb. 13. He was 86.

“Howard retired almost 20 years ago as a professor, but he was still very engaged with Purdue,” said Jayson Lusk, a Purdue distinguished professor and head of the Agricultural Economics Depar tment.

Doster joined the Purdue faculty in 1968 as an Extension farm management specialist and continued his career with the university until he retired in 2001.

Lusk said even after Doster retired, he still had a lot of passion for Purdue agricultural programs; he would not only attend them, but also helped stage them, as well.

Lusk said that the Top Farmer Conference has been going for more than 50 years, and that Doster had been present at all 50 conferences.

Another Purdue event Doster was a staple at, Lusk said, was the Farm Management Tour.

“The Farm Management Tour is every summer. There have been more than 80 of them, and Howard had been to more than 50,” Lusk said, adding how remarkable Doster’s commitment was to Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Lusk said Doster was very passionate about farm management, and helping farm families succeed. He started a mentoring group to provide management tips to farmers.

“He wanted to make sure families were making the best decisions with the data they had available,” Lusk said.

In recent years, Lusk said, Doster had been very interested in digital agriculture and the new tools and technology associate with that.

Lusk said he was an advocate for farmers to use the technology that was available to them.