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At 7 a.m. on a Friday, we were huddled around the coffee machine before embarking on a farm visit to Dustin, Oklahoma.
Twice a week for the last month, we have helped Ira and Seth with the rotational grazing project by collecting fecal and forage samples from 24 calves on 12, one-acre paddocks. The goal is to gather information about what the cattle eat and how plant communities respond in different grazing situations.
I am really trying to make the most of my time here in Ardmore. Today, we had a meeting about our final presentations. For my presentation I will be attempting to sum up the past three months of my life here into a mere 10-minute PowerPoint.
Looking at the stubborn seeds that had refused to germinate, it was clear that we would be repeating the experiment for the third time. The 360 sad, little Medicago truncatula seeds stared up at me from within their plastic tubes and refused to offer any usable data.
It was a wet and unusually cool day for southern Oklahoma as four ag scholars crawled into the suburban to make the trek to the Addison ranch.
When a sizeable group of individuals who have lived in a state their whole lives question the existence of a destination, it generally does not bode well.
The scope of my knowledge broadens on a daily basis here, as I am constantly learning not only from Noble Research Institute employees but also from my fellow scholars.
Last Wednesday night we got one of the emails we'd been anticipating all summer. The subject line was only one word, "Hogs," but we knew what the message said before we even opened it.
"So you made a theoretical plan for raising theoretical goats for a theoretical cooperator?" asked Luke Braswell, Noble Research Institute photographer, one evening as we were doing a Rural Life Team photo shoot. Though the plan and goats may not have been real, the time, effort and lessons I learned this summer from the Rural Life Plan project were definitely real.
"Roller coaster" has been a common word in the agricultural community recently. I can't help but entertain a mental image of cowboys at a carnival, cotton candy in the hands of tough, weathered men wearing hats and blue jeans, all waiting to ride the Super Dragon.