Research Strategy in the Agricultural Division
The Agricultural Division maintains two primary efforts: consultation and research. The research mission is to assist agricultural producers in attaining their goals through effective research. The Noble Research Institute maintains nearly 12,000 acres of land on seven farms throughout Oklahoma that represent a variety of soil types and environments. These farms are a valuable resource that enables us to pursue our research mission.
To ensure efficient use of these farm resources, we defined six areas of research focus following a 2009 critical review of our research programs. This critical review included an analysis of the agricultural industries within our service area and consultation with regional producers who work directly with the Noble Research Institute's Agricultural Division. The resulting areas of research focus are:
- forage-based beef cattle production;
- forage agronomy;
- wildlife and range ecology;
- horticulture; and
Forage-based beef cattle production is the primary agricultural industry in south-central Oklahoma and north Texas. Therefore, we have dedicated significant resources to investigating new technologies and management strategies that improve the health and performance of grazing animals. With our forage agronomy research, we are conducting fertility and variety trials, investigating new forage varieties that may extend grazing seasons and examining management strategies that contribute to forage sustainability. Our wildlife and range ecology research programs are investigating the long-term relationships between wildlife, livestock and range management with a special emphasis on the effects of prescribed fire.
The Noble Research Institute has established a national leadership position in the emerging field of bioenergy research, and the Agricultural Division will continue its contribution to this effort through agronomic research of switchgrass and the development of alternative uses for this native forage. Horticulture, particularly pecan production, is a rapidly growing industry in Oklahoma. In support of our regional growers, we developed two distinct pecan research facilities to conduct value-added research concerning establishment and management practices that may lead to sustainable and profitable pecan production.
Finally, we place significant importance on the economic impact of our research results. We acknowledge the value of basic research that answers basic questions, regardless of its relevance to the marketplace. However, our mission is to assist the producer, and this almost always involves economic considerations. Therefore, all research programs within the Agricultural Division include economic analysis to enable the producer to place value on the results.
The scientists within the Agricultural Division have a passion for agricultural research and the success of our regional producers. Therefore, we strive to provide answers that producers can use in making management decisions. Our strategic research plan is intended to guide our efforts over the coming years to provide pertinent and useful information. We look forward to bringing you results and continuing to work in collaboration.