'One Noble Summer' Category
My high school cross country team always said we ran because putting one foot in front of the other was about all we could manage. Well, there's some truth to that saying, particularly for me. The numerous times I've tripped while running hurdles is proof enough.
So one of the tasks we have taken upon ourselves as Summer Scholars is to try out the local fare. One weekend we made the short trip north from Ardmore, Okla., to small town named Davis for barbeque at Smokin' Joe's Rib Ranch.
Growing up, agriculture was symbolized by cattle, the hard work of my grandparents and the wide open spaces of northwestern Colorado. Today, as a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture, agriculture is being presented on a much larger scope and with a deeper significance that is no longer limited to just cattle.
A majority of our time at the Noble Research Institute the past few weeks has been consumed by the scholars' annual grazing project, consisting of prairie species identification and what seemed like endless moving of cattle. Through this process, we became relatively knowledgeable about these native grasslands and all that the prairie encompasses, which up to this point I had only read about in books.
The mob grazing project for the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture came as a blessing for the early birds in our group, but a rude awakening to the night owls.
The sun breaks over the shrubby horizon, warming the Oklahoma landscape and setting the sky ablaze with the vibrant pinks and oranges of dawn. On the slight ridge that overlooks the cattle pastures of Oswalt Ranch, the cowboy surveys the fields from atop his trusty steed, a green four-wheeler ... wait a second! What happened to his horse?
Our Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture group was completed this week with addition of Anna Stehle from the University of Washington. All total, we now have seven girls and one guy. Poor Andrew is hopelessly outmatched.
As I landed at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on June 8, I realized that I was no longer surrounded by the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania and the roar of the Nittany Lion had almost been silenced. My beloved Nittany Lion fans have now been replaced by the Pokes, and I've traded in those hills for an endless view of range pastures and a flatter landscape, sometimes losing my sense of direction.
Growing up with Disney has led me to connect wildlife and fire with the image of a terrified Bambi running from an uncontrollable blaze. But, as is clearly demonstrated by the Noble Research Institute's use of prescribed burns, fire can be incredibly beneficial for the land, wildlife and agriculture.
Having the opportunity to attend the Beef Improvement Federation Conference in Oklahoma City with the Noble Research Institute and some of the other Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture was a great experience. Not only did we enjoy the day, we also got to hear some of the current issues and problems different sectors of the beef industry are having.