ARDMORE, Okla. — The Noble Research Institute presented William and Karen Payne with the 2019 Leonard Wyatt Memorial Outstanding Cooperator Award.
As part of Noble’s mission, the organization provides farmers, ranchers and other land managers — called cooperators — with no-cost consultation services and educational programs to help them achieve their financial, production, stewardship and quality-of-life goals.
William and Karen Payne live in St. Louis, Oklahoma, and operate 920 acres of rangeland, which they restored after 20 years of continuous grazing and without brush control or tree maintenance. Their operation consists of stocker cattle, cow-calf pairs and retail beef sales.
Criteria for the Leonard Wyatt Memorial Outstanding Cooperator Award are based on accomplishments within the farmer or rancher’s operation, their community service, and their willingness to assist other producers.
The Paynes became cooperators in 2006 and are members of the Noble Research Institute’s strategic planning producer collaboration group for grazing lands and stocker cattle. William has served as the president of the Pottawatomie County Cattlemen’s Association and is currently the south-central district representative for the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. The Paynes have also held seminars, with assistance from the Noble Research Institute, about grazing practices, growing native grasses and caring for the land.
As the Leonard Wyatt Memorial Outstanding Cooperator Award winner, William received a plaque and belt buckle. Karen received a bracelet. Their names will be placed on a permanent plaque displayed at the Noble Research Institute.