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2017 Leonard Wyatt Memorial Outstanding Cooperator Award

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In 2004, the Noble Research Institute established the Leonard Wyatt Memorial Outstanding Cooperator Award. The award honors an agricultural producer who exemplifies what the term "cooperator" implies – someone who has an active relationship with Noble Research Institute consultants, demonstrates superb operational proficiency, and willingly shares experiences and expertise with other producers.

The Noble Research Institute is pleased to recognize Craig Watson as the 2017 recipient of the Leonard Wyatt Outstanding Cooperator Award.

Craig and his wife, Mori, live in Sherman, Texas, and have been cooperators since 2000. The Watsons currently operate about 500 acres in Grayson County, Texas. Initially, Craig wanted to provide work-related experiences for himself and his sons during their formative years through an agricultural enterprise. It has continued for Craig, even after the sons left home. Craig implemented an intensively managed, rotational grazing program on his pasture resources utilizing 120 to 160 stocker calves, depending on the year. He over-seeded his perennial pastures with ryegrass and legumes, and double-cropped his cropland pastures to winter small grains and summer annuals, following the recommendations from Noble Research Institute consultants. With timely assistance from consultants, Craig managed and marketed his calves to get the most value from the pasture resources as was possible, and with success. As a result, Craig has been a host site for several Noble Research Institute grazing and pasture workshops. He's also been a producer-speaker at the various educational events.

The relationship between Craig and the Noble Research Institute continues. In recent years, Craig has been a Noble Research Institute speaker at the Texas and National Grazing Lands Coalition conventions. He now purchases between 320 and 380 replacement-quality heifers and breeds them to fit the Integrity Beef Alliance program criteria while still rotationally grazing his pastures. Craig also hosts a demonstration site, which producers visit each fall and spring, for the Noble Research Institute new small grains variety releases. Craig continues to remain active with our consultants in his management planning and contributes to the education of other agricultural producers by sharing his experiences and knowledge.

By every definition, Craig fully epitomizes the cooperator relationship established in the early 1950s. Craig and Mori were recognized at the 2017 Texoma Cattlemen's Conference on Feb. 24. Craig will receive a plaque and belt buckle, and his wife will receive a bracelet. Their names will be placed on a permanent plaque that is displayed in the Agricultural Division building lobby on the Noble Research Institute's Ardmore campus.

Hugh Aljoe serves as the director of producer relations (consultation and ranch management) and a pasture and range consultant. He has been associated with Noble Research Institute since 1995. Prior to coming to Noble, he managed a 3,000-acre 1,500-head cattle operation in Texas. Hugh received his master’s degree in range science from Texas A&M University with emphasis in grazing management.