Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a two-part series on the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. Part one ran in the July 24th edition of the Ardmoreite and can be found online at ardmoreite.com.

“…that the only true happiness must come from not only understanding your own needs, but an understanding and willingness to secure the same things for your fellow man.” —Lloyd Noble, May 1950, University of Oklahoma
The words of Lloyd Noble continue to live on long as the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation strives to continue work that stays true to his legacy. It’s something experienced firsthand by local farmers and ranchers like Bill Chapman and son, Ian.
Bill remembers when he began farming in the 60s. While his father grew up a farmer’s son and knew farming, Bill said he had no agricultural education. Cotton was beginning to phase out and peanut was their money making crop at the time, but as time moved on, the peanut crop began to be phased out, as well.
At that time, raising cattle was much more profitable then it ever was before, he said, and the foundation helped Bill transition the farm from growing peanuts to raising cattle.
“We didn’t know how to do that, but the Noble Foundation came in with their experts and their education people,” he said. “Through their experimental plots and so forth, they showed us what we could do and they took us out to the feed lot and showed us the process and they really helped us.”
The timing couldn’t have been better, he said, adding that he is forever grateful.
“I wouldn’t have hardly made it,” Bill said. “They (the Noble Foundation) are the ones that really showed us. Helped make us better.”
It wasn’t just the Chapman family the foundation helped. Ian said it has helped guide farmers all across southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. It still helps farmers and ranchers continue to adapt today.
Whether it is showing how to build more economical fencing, holding workshops for prescribed burning or teaching the benefits of rotational grazing.
“They have experts in lots of different fields,” Ian said.
As Noble Foundation cooperators, the Chapman’s said the benefits have been plentiful. Aside from all the research the foundation does, Ian said since the foundation works with a lot of cooperators, that helps as well. The foundation knows what other farmers are doing and if they’re having success with it, he said.
This year the foundation celebrates its 70th Anniversary. Although Bill has only been farming since the mid-60s, he said the biggest change he’s witnessed is changing the land to accommodate for cattle-based profits, rather than crops.
Ian said the beef industry grew because of it.
The foundation has also assisted in helping farmers and ranchers navigate alternative sources of income, like renting out certain areas to hunters, Ian said.
As agriculture changes, the research foundation has continued to adapt with it, Bill said.
“I think we are so fortunate to have them in Ardmore and to have helped us through this period to make agriculture in southern Oklahoma and north Texas much better and support the people,” he said.