Noble Foundation Acts as Catalyst to Move Ag Research AheadFri, 28 Feb 2014 06:03:52 CST
One of the prime characteristics of agriculture research is to look to the future. Bill Buckner, president and CEO of the Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Oklahoma, says that is precisely what his staff endeavors to do.
“I always kid with the guys in our ag division that if we’re going to be consultants, we have to be two steps ahead of everybody in order to earn the right to be called ‘consultant.’ And I think we do do that, but agriculture is changing very rapidly and if we’re not looking at these new technologies further downstream and starting to incorporate those into a lot of the applied research that we do, then we’re missing the boat.”
He greeted cattle producers who were participating in the Texoma Cattlemen's Conference in Ardmore on Thursday. After those greetings, Buckner talked with RON Farm Director Ron Hays and told Hays that their ongoing research projects seek to make the most of technological innovations that will be at the core of farming and ranching in the near future, like their Smart Ranch program and Forage 365.
“Those are some areas that I think as we continue to experience climatic change in whatever variable we want to consider it, we are going to have to figure out in the future how we are going to do more with less. And how we can get the most out of our forage gain on a 365-day base period is really going to be the trick in this region to figure out how we can continue to provide some value.
“So, we’re taking advantage of the resources we have at the Noble Foundation to link our plant biology and our forage-improvement group, which are basic forage plant breeders, and our agricultural group to really garner the strength of what we have there, to really produce some purposeful outcomes and provide alternatives to different grazing systems for the region.”
Buckner says Noble Foundation researchers are using off-the-shelf technology-like the Greenseeker developed at OSU-as well as pioneering new ones, like unmanned aerial vehicles and advanced sensors, to meet a broad range of agricultural needs.
“We intend to be the R and D arm of a lot of those sensor companies to really look at how those applications might apply themselves to both open ranch and rangeland situations plus farm land.”
Buckner says he has always seen the Noble Foundation as problem solvers and collaborators. He says there are two programs in particular he has high hopes for in the near future, the Beef Integrity Program and the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association.
“We look at those different opportunities as to how we can be a catalyst to really move things forward. So, when you look at Smart Ranch, when you look at Forage 365 and a lot of our advocacy efforts that we are involved in, I really thing the Noble Foundation will continue to be that go-to entity, if you will, for this region. But I hope that our region is going to be felt even more broadly and I think it will.”
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the full conversation between Ron Hays and Bill Buckner.
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