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A summer unexpected

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Truth be told, I was vaguely aware of the Noble Research Institute before Jim Johnson, a Noble Research Institute agricultural consultant, sat next to me at an Oklahoma Crop Improvement Association banquet. While having small talk about summer plans, Jim got out his phone and walked me through the website to find the application. Little did I realize that my summer plans would be drastically changed when I took his advice and applied for the Lloyd Noble Summer Scholars in Agriculture program.

Being an agribusiness major from Oklahoma State University with only an agricultural regulations background, my overall exposure to the agricultural world has been through legislation, inspection and guideline. In other words, my agricultural experience has been tied to an office and a computer. When I found out I was one of the eight Ag Scholars interns, I was obviously excited. Even with that excitement, I had no idea just how valuable and challenging this summer would be for me.

This first week has been a whirlwind of activity. Inside the office, we hit the ground running with orientation, potential project meetings, defensive driving, and artificial insemination of Noble Research Institute cattle. The Noble Research Institute wasted no time in putting us to work. Outside the office, my new roommates and I had a serious bonding session in our storm shelter as a tornado headed toward Ardmore. Nothing starts solid friendships like a box of beef jerky, a storm shelter, a water-logged computer, and an obligatory selfie.

Before the first day, all I could do was speculate the type of work I would have. Having an opportunity to see some of the different facets of production from urban horticulture projects to pecan grafting to cow-calf operations is truly amazing. I am incredibly thankful to also have the chance to test my skills and learn more about economics as I work with Dan Childs and Steve Swigert on the Cattle Cycle update.

Meagan Osburn is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Stillwater, Oklahoma.