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An Unforgettable Summer

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As my time at the Noble Research Institute comes to an end, I can't help but think back on all I have had the opportunity to do this summer. Six months ago, when friends and family asked what I would be doing this summer, I responded with, "A little bit of everything, I think." I didn't know it at the time, but I found out "a little bit of everything" was exactly right shortly after arriving in Ardmore. There aren't many places where you can artificially inseminate cows in the morning then turn around and participate in a prescribed burn that afternoon. From trapping feral hogs to planting pecans to softball tournaments, I believe it is safe to say I've done it all.

When applying to be a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture, I was looking for an internship that provided practical, hands-on experience in the agriculture industry. I was tired of books and studying. I wanted to get out into the "real world" to put my expensive education to the test. The Noble Research Institute provided the exact opportunity I had been searching for. I couldn't have asked to work with a nicer group of people. From day one, it was obvious everyone across the Institute was happy to welcome the 2014 Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture to Ardmore.

Although I was excited about all of the newfound knowledge I was sure to learn this summer, I was equally excited to finally meet my fellow ag scholars. It's not every day I get to meet people from Idaho, Pennsylvania, Kansas and even Nigeria. Upon meeting everyone for the first time, it was obvious we were all very different people. We spoke differently, dressed differently and ate different foods. We came from completely opposite sides of the country, yet we all had one thing in common: a love for agriculture. And that commonality seemed to bridge every gap between us. I have enjoyed every minute I've spent getting to know my fellow scholars and now friends.

I have formed many valuable relationships in the last three months and not just with the other scholars. The best part about this summer was the opportunity I had to visit with and learn from the many agriculture consultants. I am convinced the Noble Research Institute employs some of the greatest, most knowledgeable folks I've ever met. It was a pleasure to ride along with them on farm visits and listen in as they offered advice to producers. Most importantly, I have now made connections with people in the industry who are more than happy to offer guidance and support in any of my future endeavors.

The Noble Research Institute is an awesome place full of fantastic people who have forever influenced the way I view the agriculture industry. I have recognized the many facets of agriculture that I had not given much thought to before this summer. I realize the issues the industry is sure to face in the future. I see the need for the next generation of American agriculture to be made up of educated young people passionate about their industry. I believe this is exactly what the Noble Research Institute is trying to accomplish with its internship opportunities, and it makes me excited for the future of Noble and the entire agriculture industry.

Courtney Hemphill is a 2014 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Lohn, Texas, where her family farms wheat and cotton, and runs a small commercial cow-calf operation.