I chose to attend Oklahoma State University (OSU) because I wanted to get out of California and experience a different part of the country. OSU always had cheerful students recruiting FFA members at all of the big conferences. I knew a few older students who chose to come out here and really enjoyed it. When I toured the campus as a high schooler, I was overwhelmed by the courtesy and friendliness of Stillwater. The campus is, of course, beautiful, and the school is heavily influenced by its College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, so my decision to attend OSU was quick and easy.
I became familiar with Noble Research Institute because of its various collaborations with OSU. The biggest name recognition is the fact that OSU has a building on campus named Noble Research Center. If you have your name on a building at a university, you must be of some significant importance. In one of my undergraduate courses, I learned about Noble’s Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program. I was intrigued and excited by the thought of this opportunity, so I applied.
I wanted to get my feet wet with more of the research side of agriculture, as opposed to the production side. My family back in northern California has a diverse production agricultural operation. We grow walnuts, almonds, cherries, peaches, forage hay and raise beef cattle. Most of it entails average manual labor farm work that follows the same pattern from year to year. At Noble, I will have the opportunity to be a part of things that I have never been tried before. Who knows what we might discover by the end of summer?
My projects this summer will relate to pecan research, the economics of establishing a pecan operation and the profitability of a current ranch. I should secure a better understanding of financial framework, cost reporting and conducting official research studies by the end of this summer scholar program.
Kenneth Watkins on his first day at Noble.