Walking into the Noble Research Institute, I had few expectations beyond learning a tremendous amount and a melting summer (we Southern Oregonians are something of weather wimps). It's a good thing I didn't bother with any other expectations, because they would have been gone in a matter of days.
In a few short weeks, I have had quite a few different experiences. I have been arm deep in a heifer, artificially inseminating her. I have successfully chased feral piglets caught inside the most advanced hog trapping system in the world. I can envision a scholar-greased pig competition some day.
I have grafted pecan trees and only stuck one limb in upside down. I have watched the sun rise over gorgeous southwestern ranches while sampling quail populations. I have slogged through mud puddles to test forage mass in pastures using the "plonking method" whereby one "plonks" the tool down. I have been as excited as the group of 5th graders who extracted DNA from strawberries while I assisted them. During it all, I learned a little more about another region of our beautiful country.
The Noble Research Institute provides Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture opportunities in our own fields, but also requires us to step outside our areas of expertise to gain experiences spanning from consultations to research and a 100 other tasks crucial to agricultural. I can't wait to see what we do next!
Anya Gandy is a 2013 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture. She was raised on a small farm in southern Oregon and is entering her sophomore year at Cornell University where she majors in agricultural sciences and international agriculture and rural development.