Cattle grazing in pasture.
  1. Regenerative Agriculture

Inviting You Into the Regenerative Journey

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Posted Jul. 15, 2021

For more than 75 years, Noble Research Institute has built deep relationships with producers like you. Today, I’m writing to talk about the next steps in the Institute’s journey, a journey that I hope you will join us in. The relationships we’ve held across multiple generations, spanning nearly a century, have uncovered three principles:

  1. Producers are motivated to build successful enterprises framed by profitability, growing family wealth, creating opportunities for successive generations, and providing a venue in which people can express creativity, develop mastery, live purposefully, and retain independence.
  2. Most producers share the belief that each generation has an obligation to leave resources and landscapes better than they found them.
  3. Every family, ranch or farm, and landscape has its own unique characteristics, opportunities, and challenges.

Rancher sets up temporary cattle fencing as cattle graze in the distance.

We have also learned that stitching these principles together is not a simple process nor can it be accomplished with a one-size-fits-all recipe. Furthermore, the short- and long-term goals of each enterprise are influenced by a host of factors such as family dynamics, past experiences, mindset and vision for the future.

Many producers feel called to the work of agricultural production and are driven by the desire to feed people, to practice stewardship and stockmanship, and to contribute to healthy families and communities. Our assessment of the lessons we have learned from you is that success has and will be built on the interdependence of profitability and resource health. We have come to believe that the future of our region, the Great Plains, and our national interests depend in large part on our ability to be successful in terms of profitability and soil stewardship.

As a result, over the past year, we have taken a hard look at the Institute’s operations, resources and vision. We evaluated our research, what we were sharing with farmers and ranchers, and how we were operating our own ranches. We also revisited the original intent for the Institute, as described by our founder, Lloyd Noble; we noted the focus and clarity of purpose he offered this organization. We will do better by your principles and his words of guidance. We will focus everything we do toward these principles and their balanced application in grazing animal production to serve you.

We are focusing all of our operations on regenerative agriculture — the intersection between profitability and stewardship. Why? Because you shouldn’t have to choose one objective over the other.

Cow eating forage.

We are committed to assisting you (and other farmers and ranchers across the nation) in exploring and implementing grazing operations in ways that regenerate the soil and enable lasting profitability. While we are driven by a vision for the future, the benefits are not limited to the future but are available in the near-term.

Everything the Institute does from this moment forward will be designed to build and sharpen your knowledge, critical thinking skills, understanding and confidence in applying regenerative principles. We will be here when you need help or when you encounter something new. Our research will answer critical producer-guided questions regarding soil management, grazing, economics and business operations to help you and others asking the same questions. Our educational and consulting programs will be rooted in equipping farmers and ranchers to effectively manage their operations using these regenerative principles. While our focus is on our nation’s grazing lands and grazing animals, we recognize the intrinsic connections of our nation’s grazing lands to wildlife and other influences (e.g., biodiversity, pollinators) and enterprises (e.g., pecans, multispecies grazers).

We are currently participating in and assessing educational and training programs from across the United States. In the process, we are adding to our own experiences while gaining insight into these programs so that we can provide you with more than one recommended source for training and education. We are also identifying needs and gaps that the Institute can fill.

Hands holding a soil sample containing grass with roots and earthworms.

Our educational offerings are being developed. Educational programming was suspended in 2020 for COVID-19 and is planned to return in 2022. Like you, we spent a lot of time on Zoom and other online learning platforms over the past year. We are exploring new ways to reach you where you are, rather than requiring you to come to us. That said, standing together in a pasture and sharing stories is one of the best ways to learn, and we look forward to getting back to that too.

This month, we are introducing this new periodical, Noble Rancher (replacing Noble News & Views), to provide you with timely, producer-guided information to assist you in adoption and sustained use of regenerative principles. We also will continue to add and deliver resources through www.noble.org.

We are excited about focusing our people and programs on regenerative agriculture. With your voice and your participation, we are building something to help you reach your objectives for success while also caring for the land. This is our calling.

Please contact one of the consultants or me to discuss what regenerative management could mean for you and your operation. We look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Hugh Aljoe serves as the director of producer relations (consultation and ranch management) and a pasture and range consultant. He has been associated with Noble Research Institute since 1995. Prior to coming to Noble, he managed a 3,000-acre 1,500-head cattle operation in Texas. Hugh received his master’s degree in range science from Texas A&M University with emphasis in grazing management.

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