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Starting a summer adventure at the Noble Research Institute

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I am a senior at Oklahoma State University (OSU) studying animal science business and agricultural economics. I greatly enjoy being involved and interacting with people. I have had the outstanding opportunity to serve as the Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen president, the Oklahoma Beef Ambassador and a National Beef Ambassador. In the fall, I will also serve as a teaching assistant in both the animal science and agricultural economics departments at OSU. I will also serve as an Animal Science Leadership Alliance mentor and an Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association intern.

My early years were spent in a dairy barn helping hose down the stanchions, feed bottle calves and gather cows. After selling out of the dairy business in 2000, our operation transitioned to beef production. Today, I help manage and operate my family’s commercial cow-calf operation in Wyandotte, Oklahoma.

I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of my beef background. My character – my tight-knit family relationships, work ethic, sense of responsibility, dedication to be the best person I can be, respect for God’s power, appreciation for the land, compassion – all stems from my privilege of growing up on a ranch.

I had only vaguely heard of The Samuel Roberts Noble Research Institute. While at the 2015 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas, I spoke with some Noble Research Institute employees about what the organization does. Later, I applied for the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program. I was blessed with an interview and was selected. I quickly accepted.

Upon arrival to Ardmore, Oklahoma, I was not sure of what my summer duties would include. I was just excited for a new adventure. I was placed in an incredibly nice, spacious house with three of the greatest young ladies a roommate could ask for. I did not have many expectations coming into the opportunity other than I had a feeling it was going to be great.

Come to find out, the Noble Research Institute is an amazing organization dedicated to encouraging producers to be kind to the land and helping them increase profitability. They are also involved in the community. After getting accustomed to the Noble Research Institute’s current goals and projects, I now know what I want to get out of this summer.

My passion is very clearly rooted in the beef community, especially production. Through my time at the Noble Research Institute, I hope to gain a better knowledge of range and cattle interactions. I also wish to learn more about the cohabitation of wildlife and livestock as it pertains to a healthy ecosystem. In addition, I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the horticulture and backyard gardening techniques the Noble Research Institute will be working on this summer.

In the end, I hope to walk away having had a well-rounded experience. I wish to soak up as much information and as many experiences as possible concerning beef production and everything that goes into raising cattle in the most sustainable fashion. I hope to further determine my goals for the future concerning graduate school and my long-term career goals.

I am excited to see what this summer has to offer!

Kalyn McKibben is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture and a fifth-generation beef producer from Wyandotte, Oklahoma.