Great acts of service begin with a belief.
While ideas tumble from the mind like raindrops, beliefs spring from the heart. They call us to selfless pursuits. They lead us to a devotion that shapes a better future, not only for ourselves but for everyone. Lloyd Noble witnessed the devastation imposed on his home state by the great Dust Bowl. His faith in the virtues and necessity of agriculture spurred him to put words into action.
Noble believed that to reawaken the region’s stalled economic engine meant reinvigorating the soil. Healthy soil produces food and fiber, and these products are the foundation of commerce and community. A conservationist was born. He began to speak directly to the soul of a state. The land and the soil, he said, were society’s most treasured resources. Protect. Nurture. Restore. There was no mandate, no legal requirement for an oilman to carry the stewardship banner. But Noble understood that every individual — no matter their station or position — was called to be responsible for tomorrow.
Noble’s convictions took form in bricks and mortar with a new organization dedicated to solving agriculture’s greatest challenges. Noble Research Institute (originally named The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation) emerged not as an intellectual pursuit, rather the personification of a neighbor with rolled sleeves and an eagerness to help. Motivated by a vision bigger than himself, the philanthropist would never see the hundreds of thousands of acres transformed by his generosity, but he knew to find success one must begin with humility.
So our first steps were small but bold. Researchers ignited discovery and sought scientific answers to questions that plagued producers. Plant breeders developed hardier varieties, improving efficiency and yield. Educational programs presented new ideas that spurred advancement in thinking and practice. Be it yesteryear or today, we aim to walk side by side with ranchers because we know strength and success comes when you build together.
Each generation of rancher inevitably confronts challenges both familiar and unforeseen. They face shifting markets, economic uncertainty, natural calamity, pest and pestilence. But they do not face it alone. We walk the dusty road with them. Help establish a plan with them. Run the numbers with them. Pray for rain with them. Deposit sweat equity into their land. Then celebrate as a lifeless pasture turns to an emerald sea. As hope triumphs over circumstances, cementing one indelible truth about this relationship: We will never fear challenges.
We serve the rancher, and the rancher serves the land. One team unified by a common belief that stewardship betters the world far beyond the fencerow. Healthy soil provides food, feed and fiber for society at large. It supports wildlife habitats, filters water and offers the single greatest reservoir for storing atmospheric carbon. When the land receives intentional stewardship, conservation turns into regeneration wherein the land becomes healthier. Ranchers are the guardians of this process. They are the standard-bearers of a movement that works with the natural cycles of the rangeland to deliver solutions to society’s most pressing issues. These forerunners continually seek innovative ways to work with nature. They defy the status quo. They lead with passion.
In every task, be it small or significant, these ranchers strive for excellence. They build from a foundation of respect, honoring each other’s contribution and seeking to better mankind through the work of their hands. Likewise, the men and women of Noble look for opportunities to be exceptional in the laboratory, the classroom and the field. We come from all corners of the earth, united by a vision for agriculture. Our differences bring new perspectives. Our work is bound by an integrity that requires — in all things — that we be noble.
The bond between ranchers and Noble has been forged through time and by fidelity to shared values. Responsibility. Action. Humility. Fearlessness. Togetherness. Leadership. Integrity. These are not mere words; they are the compass by which we chart a course, the guiding light for our decisions, and the yardstick by which we measure success. The pages of this annual report, therefore, tell two interconnected stories rooted in these mutual beliefs: one of a rancher who embodies these principles and the second of an organization dedicated to serving them. This is what they believe. This is what we believe. This is who we are: To the core.