Noble Research Institute Campus

Noble Research Institute Achieves Agricultural Research Organization Status

Noble is now the nation’s largest 501(c)(3) independent agricultural research organization

  Estimated read time: minutes

ARDMORE, Okla. (Dec. 5, 2023) – Noble Research Institute has been recognized formally as a 501(c)(3) public charity by virtue of being an agricultural research organization (ARO) by the Internal Revenue Service, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. With this designation, Noble is now the largest independent ARO in the U.S.

Noble’s journey to its ARO status was unique. In 2008, Noble began efforts to modify the Internal Revenue Code to recognize tax-exempt AROs as public charities. AROs must directly engage in the continuous active conduct of agricultural research in conjunction with a land-grant college or university or a non-land-grant college of agriculture.

Over the next seven years, more than 65 universities, associations and organizations as well as multiple legislators joined together to support the vital role AROs could play in infusing greater private philanthropy into public research to advance agriculture. The Internal Revenue Code section creating the ARO designation was signed into law in 2015. In 2018, Noble began the legal process of converting to an ARO. Upon completing this process, the IRS formally recognized Noble as an ARO.

“We are grateful for this final step in our journey to be recognized as an ARO,” said Steve Rhines, president and CEO of Noble Research Institute. “It has long been our goal to help build the public agricultural research capacity in the U.S. in ways that go beyond government funding. We look forward to continued work with our partners in both the public and private sectors to further our mission of regenerating 164 million acres of U.S. grazing lands.”

AROs, in conjunction with our nation’s agricultural research universities and as a complement to government laboratories, will take their place in identifying and solving significant agricultural challenges that must be addressed to create a sustainable future.

“AROs provide public agricultural research a full complement of philanthropic tools to reach individuals and families and provide them a charitable vehicle to advance public agricultural research,” Rhines said. “And in turn, Noble is committed to adding to the 78 years we have been serving America’s farmers and ranchers with research dedicated to regenerating grasslands and restoring our nation’s invaluable soil health.”

About Noble Research Institute

Noble Research Institute is the nation’s largest independent agriculture research organization, supporting ranchers and farmers with research, education and mentorship for regenerating soil health to improve their land, livestock and livelihood. Since 1945, Noble Research Institute has been a leading, trusted resource in agricultural research and education dedicated to land stewardship. Demonstrating our ongoing commitment to regenerating our nation’s grazing lands, Noble actively manages 13,500 acres of working ranch lands to provide real-world insights and applications for farmers and ranchers.

To learn more about Noble’s agricultural research and vision for 2040, visit


Steve Rhines
Steve Rhines, President and CEO of Noble Research Institute

Noble Research Institute is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to guiding farmers and ranchers in applying regenerative principles that yield healthier soil, more productive grazing land and business success.

At Noble, researchers, facilitators and ranch staff work together to share with farmers and ranchers the skills and tools to regenerate the land in a profitable manner. Noble is focused on the regenerative management of the nation’s grazing acres, which directly impacts pasture and range environments, wildlife, pecan production and livestock production. Regenerative management recognizes that each decision made on the ranch impacts the interactions of the soil, plants, water, animals, economics and people. Noble’s 14,000 acres of working ranch lands provide a living laboratory on which to demonstrate and practice regenerative principles and ideas to deliver value to farmers and ranchers across the U.S.

For media inquiries concerning the Noble Research Institute, please contact:

Kim Leaston, Public Relations Specialist | 580-223-5810

For article reprint information, please visit our Media page.

Improve your land, your livestock and your livelihood… Today!

Build resiliency in your land and profitability for your ranching operation.

Improve your land, your livestock and your livelihood… Today!

Build resiliency in your land and profitability for your ranching operation.

digging hole

Article Reprint

For article reprint information, please visit our Media Page.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *