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Like a kid in a candy store

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Growing up in Madill, Oklahoma, I have had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time around the personnel at the Noble Research Institute. For this reason, I had been chomping at the bit since I was just a kid for my opportunity to intern here. Now, I realize that putting all of your eggs in the same basket is usually not a very good idea, but I knew that the Noble Research Institute was precisely where I wanted to be. So, I only filled out one application and prayed that I would end up here; fortunately, those prayers were answered.

After receiving the call that I would be one of eight Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture at the Noble Research Institute this summer, my family flooded me with questions about what I would be doing this summer and I realized at this point that I was also curious as to what my summer would entail. I reread the application and found that it was not very specific as to the types of projects we would be working on throughout the summer, and I would soon realize why.

When the Ag Scholars arrived, we were each paired up with a consultant based off our interests who would be our mentor for the summer. As a group, we were told that there is an open-door policy, and if someone had something going on that we were interested in, we should stop by and simply ask them if we can help. Furthermore, we were told to be sure to tell them what we wanted to do and what we were interested in; they would be sure to make it happen. Now, telling someone like me this sort of thing might have been a bad idea because I felt like a kid in a candy store! The opportunities here are endless. I have artificially inseminated cattle, worked on pecan DNA extraction for genome sequencing, started a mock grazing rotation trial, operated the new Allflex Tru-Test EID system that the Noble Research Institute is trying out, developed a lactating cow-calf ration, and toured all of the Noble Research Institute’s farms and ranches to see the emerging cattle technology and their methods of both stocker and cow-calf production. And this was just in the first two weeks!

Coming from a commercial cow-calf operation here in southeast Oklahoma, I am excited about the opportunity to see how other operations in the area run and take that information back to my family ranch to help improve efficiency. Additionally, I will enjoy the opportunity to learn about the stocker side of cattle production since I have never had much experience with that aspect back at the family ranch. I hope to get the opportunity to network not only with the faculty at the Noble Research Institute but also with producers in the area I will be returning to following graduation. I am excited for what the rest of the summer has in store for me and my fellow Ag Scholars!

Shiann Burns is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Madill, Oklahoma.