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Celebrating Ranchers and the Land for 75 Years

Courtney Leeper

By Courtney Leeper, Writer

Posted Sep. 2, 2020

This month, Noble Research Institute will celebrate a major milestone. We will reach 75 years of working with farmers and ranchers on Sept. 19, 2020.

Noble Research Institute was founded as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in 1945 by oilman and philanthropist Lloyd Noble. He was the son of pioneers to the land-rich prairies of what was then Indian Territory. His parents, Samuel and Hattie, and his uncle and aunt, Edward and Eva, farmed and had various businesses in Texas and what is now Oklahoma before settling in the train depot town of Ardmore, Oklahoma, where they started a hardware store the same year Lloyd was born, in 1896.

Noble always had an interest in the land and a respect for farmers and ranchers.

Lloyd Noble portraitLloyd Noble held the conviction that revitalizing his community must start with agriculture, and more specifically with rebuilding the soil.

He once said “it has been my observation that people who are interested in growing things, whether it be flowers, vegetables, major crops, or livestock, are far more kind and considerate mass-wise than any other group,” and for that reason, outside of his close family and friends, he always felt most at home with them. In addition, as a teenager, he spent a year alone on his family’s ranch, responsible for his own cooking and laundry as well as tending cattle. It was a time of reflection that is said to have impacted him greatly.

The young man had an entrepreneurial spirit and cut his time short at the University of Oklahoma to go into the state’s most lucrative new industry — oil — at the age of 24. He quickly became one of the most respected drilling contractors in the U.S., which enabled him to thrive during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years. He could see, however, that many were not as fortunate. Much of the land was severely eroded, in part because of early practices that stripped the soil of nutrients, such as the continuous planting of cotton. By the 1940s, many farmers were struggling to produce food and make a living from the weakened land. Noble held the conviction that revitalizing his community must start with agriculture, and more specifically with rebuilding the soil. In 1945, he established this organization as a permanent resource to help farmers and ranchers on this journey.

Cattle in a Tall Grass Pasture

Noble is now 75 years down the road, and we want to honor this history and our roots during our anniversary year. More importantly, we want to turn our attention to the future and celebrate you, the stewards of the land. Most of our activities will be future-focused with several online campaigns that showcase the importance of agriculture and agricultural producers to society. Here’s what you may see in the coming year:

  • “Thank you” videos to farmers and ranchers from various people across the region and country
  • 75 fun facts about beef, grazing lands and cattle production promoted online and in social media

We invite you to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) to join us in the celebrations. We also hope you will look forward with us to the future as we continue focusing more on regenerative ranching, which is all about restoring degraded soils on grazing lands. Healthier soils translate into more resilient ranching operations and better profitability for you in addition to benefits for society, and we want to be here for you as a resource wherever you are in your land stewardship journey.

“… We want to honor our history and roots during our anniversary year. More importantly we want to turn our attention to the future and celebrate you, the stewards of the land.”

I’d like to leave you with a final thought on our aims from a speech our founder Lloyd Noble gave to the Tulsa Farm Club in 1948: “If we can stir people’s imagination as to the potentialities of the soil when conserved and built up, then the knowledge they would naturally acquire through these processes should materially contribute to increased confidence in themselves. As it is only when people have confidence or faith that they fight their greatest battles, if we assist them to this end, we will be reaching our objective.”

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