Position Announcement

Agricultural Economist

Term: 1 year.

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a non-profit organization created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement, is seeking an Agricultural Economist for a one-year contract.  The individual selected will assess the economics of soil health-promoting practices/systems using data from long-term agricultural experimental sites across North America and integrate that information with local on-farm data separately collected in strategic coordination with partners.  The individual selected can operate from a remote location or at SHI headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina.

Duties Include:

  • Leading data template development for agricultural research sites.
  • Supervising economics-related data collection from up to 150 agricultural research sites.
  • Researching, establishing, and applying standardized costs and returns associated with a wide diversity of agricultural practices, crops, soils, and climates.
  • Performing partial budget analysis and analyzing data for individual sites and across networks of sites.
  • Leading data template development for on-farm case studies.
  • Integrating research site findings with on-farm case study findings.
  • Preparing findings for publication to scientific and agricultural producer/field practitioner audiences.
  • Occasional travel.


  • A Master’s or Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Finance, Agribusiness, Accounting, or closely related field is required.
  • A Ph.D. in an economics or natural resource discipline is preferred.
  • Experience conducting partial budget analysis at agronomic field trial and on-farm scales is desired.
  • Demonstrated expertise in understanding farm accounting principles and economic relationships in agriculture is desired.
  • Expertise in statistical analysis is desired.
  • Experience in writing for technical and/or popular journals is desired.
  • Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.

To Apply:

Email a resume/C.V., college transcripts, and the names and contact information of 3 references to:
Byron Rath, brath@soilhealthinstitute.org.
Indicate “Agricultural Economist” in the subject line.

First review of applications will begin by October 29, 2018, and the position will remain open until filled.

Agri-Pulse Opinion

Why it’s Important to Connect Soil Health and Human Health Science-

Article by Dr. Steven Shafer
Steven Shafer
Soil quality has long been defined by measurable physical and chemical attributes. Recent advances in technologies and methods for soil biology have allowed the field of soil health to become increasingly meaningful. In fact, we know that food security, achieved when people have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003), is inextricably linked to the health of soil.

Soil health is defined as the “continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans.” Healthy soils contribute to ecosystem functions sustaining plant and animal productivity and biodiversity, filtering contaminants and thus maintaining or enhancing air and water quality, and supporting human health.

The phrase “supporting human health” offers a hopeful connection to feeding the growing world population. Experts in the agriculture, food, human and veterinary medicine sciences see major benefits from an improved understanding of connections between soil health (and the farming practices that promote it) and human health. These connections may occur through the impact of land management, crop and livestock production and commodity processing on nutritional and environmental quality, food safety and the human microbiome.

Read the full article here: https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/11482-opinion-why-its-important-to-connect-soil-health-and-human-health-science

Noble Research Institute President Sets Retirement Date

Noble Research Institute consultants will host a So You Want to Raise Cattle Workshop to provide new and perspective producers with a concrete foundation of the primary considerations involved in entering into beef cattle production.

ARDMORE, Okla. — Bill Buckner announced today that he will retire as president and chief executive officer of the Noble Research Institute at the end of 2018.

Buckner was selected as Noble’s eighth president in 2011 and has led the organization for seven years. “There are no words to properly express the thankfulness I have for my time at Noble,” Buckner said. “Every day at Noble, I have the opportunity to positively impact agriculture and contribute to something greater than myself. I am honored to be a part of the Noble legacy, and I’m excited to see the next chapter unfold for myself and the organization.”

Russell “Rusty” Noble, a member of the Board of Director’s executive committee and founder Lloyd Noble’s grandson, hailed Buckner’s tireless pursuit to advance agriculture. “When you meet Bill Buckner, you know one thing for sure: he loves agriculture. He is a passionate advocate for the sector,” Noble said. “During his time at Noble, Bill worked tirelessly to promote soil health and create innovative new solutions that could open up new opportunities for farmers and ranchers. The Noble Foundation Board of Directors and all the employees offer a whole-hearted thanks to Bill for all of his work.”

The Board of Directors has retained Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, to assist in identifying Buckner’s successor. If a successor has not been identified by the end of 2018, Buckner will continue in his current role until such time as his replacement can be found. “We are confident in the continuity of the Noble Research Institute’s business activities,” Noble said. “When a successor is identified, the transition will be seamless.”

Bill Buckner announces his plans to retire as president and CEO of the Noble Research Institute during an employee meeting in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Sept. 18, 2018. Buckner will retire at the end of 2018 after leading the organization for seven years.

A Missouri native, Buckner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1979. He spent the next four decades working in agriculture industry, including 18 years with Bayer. Buckner retired as North American Regional Head and president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, LP in 2011. Later that year, he agreed to lead Noble.

During Buckner’s tenure as President and CEO, Noble experienced one of its most dramatic organizational shifts in its 73-year history. Originally known as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Noble separated its research and education operations from its philanthropic activities in 2017.

The organization’s research, education and consultation activities continued forward under a new name, the Noble Research Institute, LLC and becomes one of the country’s first agricultural research organizations, a new type of 501(c)(3). The philanthropic activities, including grant-making and scholarship programs, of the original organization were placed in a new, private foundation, which carried the name traditionally associated with the organization’s community giving, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

The Buckner era saw Noble expand its educational and community service efforts, dive deeper into cover crop research, establish the Land Stewardship Program, increase its national collaborations and re-established soil health as a core competency.

Noble brought together farmers, ranchers, soil scientists, economists, environmental interests, agribusinesses, NGOs and government agencies together to examine the role of soil health. Their work identified the need for a national organization to serve as a hub for measurement standards, economic data and coordinated research. Noble then launched the Soil Health Institute (SHI) in 2015. The soil-focused nonprofit aims to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the soil through scientific research and advancement.

“Soil health is very much at the heart of the Noble Research Institute mission,” Buckner said. “Our founder Lloyd Noble lived through the Dust Bowl and he established our organization to help combat the agricultural challenges our region faced. Launching SHI continues to bring Mr. Noble’s vision to the national stage.”

In recent years at the Institute, Buckner has been spearheading the creation of the Ecosystem Services Market (ESM), an ambitious national effort to incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health systems by creating a large-scale program that would finance, generate and sell ecosystem service credits from agriculture working lands.

“I am so proud of the tremendous accomplishments of the past seven years,” Buckner said. “As our founder once said, ‘No individual accomplishes anything worthwhile by his effort alone.” I know that to be true. Any success I have experienced is a direct result of the tremendous men and women I’ve worked with every day here at Noble and our collaborators around the country.”

Looking forward to 2019, Buckner said he anticipated spending more time with his family. While he is retiring from his organizational leadership role, Buckner will continue to serve the agricultural sector.

“Time with my children and grandchildren is first on the agenda,” Buckner said. “However, I’m not done yet. The encore of my career will be spent helping shepherd the ESM project on behalf of Noble as well as the Soil Health Institute, where I serve as Chairman of the Board. While I will no longer have the daily responsibilities of leading an organization, I will continue to be involved in advancing agriculture. That’s something I will never stop doing.”

Announcing a new partnership with FoodShot Global

We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with FoodShot Global, a brand new investment platform catalyzing groundbreaking innovation in the food and agriculture space. Up to $10 million in equity and up to $20 million in debt funding is available to innovative businesses! In addition, a GroundBreaker Prize of more than $500,000 in philanthropic capital is available to researchers, social entrepreneurs and advocates.

FoodShot’s inaugural challenge, Innovating Soil 3.0, is searching for projects and ideas that utilize the latest in technology, science and engineering to address the crisis of soil deterioration.

As a partner of this unique non-profit organization, we hope to make the food system healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. The deadline for applications and nominations is December 1. Apply today and feel free to pass the information along! For more information, go to www.foodshot.org.