ARDMORE, Okla. — One man can change the world. Lloyd Noble did twice and his vision continues to benefit agriculture 70 years later.
In the 1920s and '30s, Lloyd Noble helped revolutionize the oil and gas drilling industry. He used his financial success to benefit agriculture in the Southern Great Plains. The Dust Bowl had ravaged Oklahoma's once-productive land, and the loss of the agricultural foundation eroded the economy and threatened the long-term viability of the region.
Noble became a founding father of today's land stewardship movement, focusing his energy and resources on strengthening land management and soil conservation. He realized Oklahoma's (and the nation's) future prosperity hinged on caring for the soil and improving agriculture, so he established Noble Research Institute on Sept. 19, 1945, with the mission to advance agriculture through education, research, and direct interaction with farmers, ranchers and land managers. Noble also understood that communities could be strengthened through targeted giving, so from even the earliest days, he made philanthropy an essential activity of the Noble Research Institute.
Through almost seven decades, the generational stewards of the Noble Research Institute its board of trustees, which remains largely comprised of Noble's descendants have continued to pursue his vision. Today, the Noble Research Institute is the largest independent, nonprofit agricultural research institution in the United States.
"Mr. Noble was a man of tremendous vision," said Bill Buckner, president and CEO of the Noble Research Institute. "He desired a way to give back, and he achieved a way to better the world through research, engaging agricultural producers and land managers, and targeted philanthropy. He was a truly remarkable individual, and we are proud to be a part of this living legacy."
On Sept. 19, 2015, the Noble Research Institute will mark its 70th anniversary and launch a year of activities for employees and the public. The Noble Research Institute employees kicked off the 70th anniversary celebration today with an organization-wide reception.
In November, the Noble Research Institute's Profiles and Perspectives Community Enrichment Series will host a special agricultural speaker as part of the anniversary. Chris Koch was born missing both arms and legs, but he has not let it stop him from farming in southern Alberta, Canada. His presentation "If I can" will take place on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.
Throughout the year, the Noble Research Institute will release a series of special stories and videos that highlight the organization's seven decades of contributions to agriculture, research, education and philanthropy. The organization will also host a special social media campaign, sending out more than 1,000 blue cow figurines (the cow representing agriculture, the blue color representing the Noble Research Institute) to demonstrate the lives touched by the organization.
Participants in the international campaign will post photos of their blue cow traveling the world with them and tell their personal story of how the Noble Research Institute has impacted them.
The public can join in the blue cow social media campaign. The first 300 participants who like or follow one of the organization's social media networks will receive a blue cow. Participants must find a network they have not already followed then post a message on that network with the #BlueCow and the phrase, "I want a blue cow!" The Noble Research Institute's social media networks include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
To wrap up the 70th year, the Noble Research Institute will host a reception and art show focused on celebrating farm life and the land during summer 2016 at the Goddard Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Details and instructions on how to enter will be released in January 2016.
"We will proudly celebrate the many people and accomplishments of the Noble Research Institute throughout the next 12 months," Buckner said. "But our view is always on tomorrow. We will use this year to also highlight where the Noble Research Institute is going. We will continue Mr. Noble's charge to benefit agriculture and strengthen communities long into the future using both proven practices as well as new approaches, discoveries and innovations. Our quest never ends."
Jessie Nance, left, and Ginger DuBose, right, cut birthday cake while Noble Research Institute President and CEO Bill Buckner looks on. Nance and Dubose - both great grandchildren of the organization's founder Lloyd Noble - were on hand to celebrate the 70th anniversary with employees during a special reception.