Jason Bradley: From Fighter Jets to Farm Finances
Jason Bradley is someone who understands the true meaning of the word "busy." In his early 30s, he is already a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate of Oklahoma State University, where he recently completed his master's degree while simultaneously beginning a new job, buying a house and raising his first child.
Bradley is the Noble Research Institute's newest economics consultant. He joined the Noble Research Institute in spring 2016. In his new office, Bradley proudly displays his greatest accomplishments of the past year – his freshly earned master's degree hanging beside his first father's day card.
Below, Bradley discusses how his experiences and passions piloted him to his dream job at the Noble Research Institute.
What is your favorite memory of being in the Navy?
I worked on F-18 fighter jets so I spent some time on an aircraft carrier. The first time I was on the flight deck during the night flights was exhilarating. I was essentially working on a 4-acre floating airport with jets flying all around me in the dark.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Honestly, location wouldn't matter as long as I'm doing something that I enjoy.
What inspires you?
Knowing that I have done the best I can to help someone by taking what I've learned and making it accessible to everyone.
What motivated you to go into economics?
I started in animal science; I was planning on becoming a veterinarian. Along with my science classes, I also took business classes and quickly discovered that I liked working with numbers. I enjoyed them more than I intended to, and I decided to change directions.
What drew you to the Noble Research Institute?
I wanted to take research directly to producers and teach good financial stewardship, so I started looking for consultant positions.
While I was working on my master's, a teacher connected me to Jon Biermacher, Ph.D., an economic researcher at the Noble Research Institute. After talking with him, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
How do you describe your work to a stranger on the street?
Agriculture production is a business and in any business, economics is one of your primary driving factors. If you are not making a profit, you are not maintaining a business. We can help producers maintain their businesses when markets are tough. We ask questions, determine where to cut costs and then use our economic skill set to advise solutions.
How does this play a key role in agriculture?
I've seen operations go under because of poor financial management. Producers might have great resources and perfect land, but they may not be good stewards of their money. I don't want to see someone's 100-year-old ranch broken up and sold because of one to two years of bad decisions, especially when I can help to prevent that.
What is your favorite part of the job?
This is my dream job, and the best part is simply whenever I receive an email or a phone call from a producer that says, "thank you."
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully sitting right here, doing this.