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Noble Research Institute's Shift To Regenerative Agriculture Affects 137 Research Staff

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Noble Research Institute
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Noble consultants and ranch staff train with the Savory Institute to learn more about regenerative agriculture and implementing regenerative practices.

The Noble Research Institute is changing its focus from plant science to regenerative agriculture, affecting 137 of its research staff in plant science, plant breeding and support positions.

According to institute spokesman Adam Calloway, 118 staff were offered a mix of voluntary and involuntary severance packages between January and June.

He says once research priorities are determined, they will start hiring for new teams, and former employees are welcome to apply. Calloway says the institute has placed about a dozen of the employees into new positions.

“For some scientists, as you can envision, they're a plant scientist. They have to make a bit of a decision,” Noble Research Institute CEO Steve Rhines says. “Am I comfortable putting my traditional career on the shelf, to now work with farmers and ranchers in the field on a landscape scale instead of a laboratory scale?”

The institute was started in 1945, by Lloyd Noble as a way to revitalize the agriculture industry following the dust bowl. Now, the institute has 350 employees, and a budget of $60 million. About 130 employees focus on research which is largely based in plant science.

Noble Institute CEO Steve Rhines says the new shift gives the institute more of a focus, and aligns with the vision of founder Lloyd Noble. Through a series of written speeches, Rhine says his goals were clear.

The institute will be working with 14,000 acres of land to test regenerative agriculture practices. Rhines says the institute’s priorities include: measuring the progress of soil health, transitioning into regenerative agriculture, increasing biodiversity on the land and livestock adaptability.

“There are two things that resonate: Take care of the soil, and make it better, and work with farmers and ranchers to do that,” Rhines says. “And so when we begin to say what should be our focal point, we can always start back with the founder.”

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