Almost 20 years ago, I arrived at the Noble Research Institute as its intellectual property counsel.
During one early conversation with former principal investigator Greg May, Ph.D., who is now research director for Corteva Agriscience, I kept saying what I wasn’t and what I didn’t possess. I wasn’t a Ph.D. I didn’t have a background in biology. I had no experience working in academia and so on. My list of noncredentials quickly overshadowed my meager list of accomplishments. Greg listened for a while then uttered these 11 words: “Quit telling me what you’re not; tell me what you are.”
There’s an avalanche of wisdom in that sentence. So as I sit to pen my first president’s message, let me tell you who I am.
I am the son of Paul and Phyllis Rhines. Their impact in my life cannot be overstated. They are supportive and encouraging and always have been. They showed me the importance of discipline, the value of continually learning, and that personal character is a way of life, not a hobby.
I live in one of the best communities and states in the world — Ardmore, Oklahoma. I am married to Debbie, who loves me the same on my worst days as my best. I have triplet, 20-year-old sons — Andrew, Thomas and Grant — who Debbie and I are immensely proud of. As a man, I have learned the utter simplicity and sheer magnitude of God’s grace.
“Each of us at noble serves our nation’s farmers, ranchers and landowners... to help them meet the many challenges of beef cattle production.”
Being a lawyer was my chosen profession, but I’ve been afforded the opportunity to grow far beyond the scope of that job description. As of Jan. 28, 2019, I’m the new president and CEO of the Noble Research Institute. I am humbled and honored to have been selected by Noble’s governing body to serve in this capacity.
While my introduction is a formality, it is vastly more critical that I introduce you to Noble’s purpose. Each of us at Noble — all 350 employees — serve our nation’s farmers, ranchers and landowners. We help them meet the many (and growing) challenges of beef cattle production.
Our founder, Lloyd Noble, endowed us with the mission to deliver solutions to great agricultural challenges. That is a grand undertaking that is honed and clarified through the lens of our primary focus: land stewardship in beef cattle production with producer profitability.
We strive to accomplish this through our ranch operations, demonstrations and research, linking the complex interactions of soil, water, plants and animals. Because we operate ranches, we experience and understand the needs and problems faced by ranchers. We share answers through our competency-based, producer-focused educational programs and through the direct interactions between our consultants and producers.
There are more than 600 million acres of pasture and rangeland in the United States. Within that, there are thousands of families who have two primary objectives: steward the land with excellence and be sufficiently successful so they can continue to care for the land. Noble’s part is simple: We do everything we can to come alongside these families and assist them in achieving both objectives.
Noble is an incredible organization with an extraordinary purpose. I could not be more proud to be part of this organization and to walk side by side with our employees, who are dedicated to bettering the lives of the people around them.
I have spent almost two decades at Noble, and I look forward to many more years as president. While we measure our lives in these large spans of time, we know that the choices and actions of each day are the true building blocks of excellence.
So, we focus on doing all that we can today, and as we like to say around here: It’s a great day to be Noble.