Reflecting on changes observed during more than 42 years of employment at the Noble Research Institute can be overwhelming. By the time you read this, I will be enjoying retirement. Observing the success of cooperators, collaborators and staff has definitely been rewarding; however, the long-lasting friendships developed with many of you and my fellow employees are the greatest reward.
Most of you are aware that the Noble Research Institute is drastically different than it was in 1966. Facilities, people, equipment and opportunities have all changed, and the changes are positive. The campus consisted of two office/laboratory buildings, a small greenhouse and five barns/storage buildings. The Agricultural Division had 12 employees and there were 62 total Noble Research Institute employees. The campus now has many buildings, large greenhouse facilities and almost 400 employees. The land available for research and demonstration is more than 12,000 acres, and some of the latest available technology is utilized and demonstrated. Collaboration among the three operating divisions enhances the opportunity to quickly move new technologies from the laboratory to the fields of farmers and ranchers.
The information and service needs of those who manage the land have also changed. The Ag Division has had to change how we deliver information and adapt to meet the goals of people who now acquire land for stewardship and/or quality of life purposes, while still providing the latest available information for those who depend on the farm or ranch for their income.
Dr. Billy Cook, Consulting Support Research Manager, will become the Agricultural Division Director April 1, 2009. Billy came to the Noble Research Institute in August 1999 as a livestock specialist on one of the consulting teams. He became the research manager in November 2004 and has since managed the Ag Division Research and Demonstration Program.
We will implement a new strategic plan in April or early May, and staff are excited about new challenges and opportunities. Our mission will remain the same as we develop new strategies to deliver information to those who manage the land resources within our service area and beyond.
Thanks to all of you who have helped make this a pleasant and rewarding experience. I hope to continue interactions and our friendship.