Charles H. Harper


Charles H. Harper was born April 11, 1925, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He attended Auburn University on a football scholarship and received the B.S. degree in agricultural science in 1948.

Harper joined the Soils Conservation Service as a temporary aide at Dothan, Alabama, in June 1948 to begin a career with that agency that lasted more than 40 years. After serving as work unit conservationist in Monroeville, Harper moved to Ozark in 1962 as area conservationist, where he continued until his retirement in 1989. He achieved superior results in reducing erosion and flooding and in improving the natural environment in 13 erosion-prone counties in southeast Alabama. He accomplished this by motivating local leaders, organizations, land users, and SCS employees to work together in recognizing problems, planning solutions, and finding innovative ways to implement resource plans.

Harper’s leadership influenced many people to alter cropping systems and to adopt no-till methods. He was the first in Alabama to sponsor parallel tile outlet terraces. He played a major role in the enactment to legislation that established Alabama’s first cost-share program for soil and water conservation. He served two terms as president of the Soil Conservation Society of America Section of the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists.

A veteran of European services in World War II, Harper is a Rotarian, a deacon and teacher in his Baptist church, charter member of the AU Agricultural Alumni Association, a member of the Auburn Athletic Club, and an active Alabama tree farmer.

Harper is married to the former Margie Dupriest. They have two children, Ann Brightman and John P. Harper.