Noble Research Institute Appoints Rhines as President and Chief Executive Officer

Steven Rhines, President & CEO

ARDMORE, Okla. — Noble Research Institute’s governing body announced today the selection of Steven Rhines as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. The governing body voted unanimously to select Rhines at last week’s regular January meeting.

Rhines has been with Noble for almost two decades, most recently serving as its vice president, general counsel and director of public affairs.

“We conducted a nationwide search for a proven leader who possessed a significant understanding of agricultural research, the vision to advance the Noble Research Institute into the next generation, and high personal integrity,” said Rusty Noble, chairman of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Board of Directors and grandson of the organization’s founder, Lloyd Noble. “We found all of those qualities in Steve. He has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to successfully lead critical initiatives, and he has a great passion for agriculture and Oklahoma. We look forward to him leading Noble for many years to come.”

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is the sole member/manager of Noble Research Institute, a nonprofit single-member limited liability company. The Foundation acts through its board of directors to provide leadership for the Institute to carry out its charitable purposes, act as a good steward of its resources, and conduct and support its activities in accordance with the vision of founder Lloyd Noble.

Rhines becomes the ninth president in Noble’s 74-year history. He replaces Bill Buckner, who retired after seven years at the end of 2018. “I’m humbled and honored to be chosen to steward the Noble legacy,” Rhines said. “I am thankful for this opportunity, and I am excited to work alongside a talented and dedicated group of researchers, educators, consultants and staff.”

Rhines, a native of Antlers, Oklahoma, earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University in 1994. Rhines joined Noble from the international law firm of Sidley Austin in 2001.

Rhines has led the legal function of the nonprofit since 2001. Additionally, he has been responsible for overseeing numerous operational activities during his tenure, including extramural funding, communications, government and public affairs, and most recently, youth and adult education.

In 2008, Rhines headed the organization’s effort to modify the U.S. Tax Code to create a new type of 501(c)(3) public charity called agricultural research organizations (AROs). The proposed modification would increase agricultural research capacity in the United States and provide philanthropists another option to invest in public agricultural research. The legislative measure became law in December 2015.

The Noble Research Institute is in the process of converting from a private foundation to an ARO. “The development of AROs was almost a seven-year journey, and Steve led the entire effort,” Noble said. “The project is but one example of his demonstrated vision, critical thinking and tenacity. He cares about Noble and its mission, and he cares for the development of the people he works with and leads. These qualities made him the clear choice for the Institute’s future.”

Rhines begins his tenure as the Institute’s president today. Rusty Noble, on behalf of the governing body, made the announcement to employees during a special gathering on the Institute campus.

“I fell in love with the organization the first day I walked onto this campus and heard the story of Lloyd Noble,” Rhines said. “Our focus is land stewardship in livestock production for producer profitability. We deliver guidance, education, solutions, and innovations to farmers and ranchers — regionally and nationally. Being a part of an organization with a committed governing body, leadership team and employees is a foundation for success. It is the greatest job anyone could have.”

In addition to other community activities and service, Rhines serves as a governor-appointed member of both the Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics Board of Trustees and the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development Board.

Rhines and his wife, Debbie, live in Ardmore. They have three sons currently attending college: Andrew, Thomas and Grant.

Soil Health Institute Selects Seven Scientists, Begins Sampling Phase of North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements

(Pictured L-R) Sean Bloszies Ph.D., Gregory Macfarland Bean Ph.D., Michael Cope Ph.D., Paul Tracy Ph.D., Kelsey Hoegenauer Ph.D., Charlotte Norris Ph.D. P.Ag., Elizabeth Rieke Ph.D., Daniel Liptzin Ph.D., Shannon Cappellazzi Ph.D.

The project will assess 31 indicators of soil health, partnering with teams from long-term research sites and scientific laboratories across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Jan. 22, 2019 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the nonprofit organization charged with safeguarding and enhancing soil health, has selected six project scientists and a statistician/database manager to oversee evaluation of soil health indicators at more than 120 long-term agricultural experiment sites across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The diverse team of scientists will help conduct and manage SHI’s initiative to identify and develop widely acceptable soil health measurements and standards, as well as launch a comprehensive evaluation program that relates soil health to quantified productivity, economic, and environmental outcomes.

“These scientists will work as a geographically-dispersed team to collect soil samples and evaluate the utility of soil health indicators. They will compare soil properties that have been changed by management, climate, production system, and other parameters across North America,” said Paul Tracy, Project Manager, Soil Science/Agronomy.

The scientists will be in charge of regional engagement and project coordination with long-term agricultural site leaders. They will evaluate soil health measurements and their relation to productivity, economic and environmental outcomes; developing critical analysis and review of measurements, soil health evaluation indices and programs at the regional (individual) and North American (team) level, partnering with site leaders and selected scientific laboratories.

Mac Bean, Ph.D., will serve as SHI’s project scientist for Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. He also will lead the team for soil pedology and genesis. Most recently, Bean focused on improving nitrogen fertilizer management as a graduate student at the University of Missouri.

Bean is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and the International Society of Precision Agriculture. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Science, Systems, and Technology from Brigham Young University-Idaho, his M.S. in Plant Science and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Missouri.

Shannon Cappellazzi, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the western United States.  She also will coordinate the soil health team’s pastures and rangeland research. Cappellazzi most recently served as Manager at the Oregon State University Central Analytical Laboratory. Earlier in her career, she was the Equestrian Manager for Wheelbarrow Creek Ranch and an agricultural commodities trader for Wilbur-Ellis Company.

Capellazzi is a member of the Soil Science Society of America and serves as a board member of the Oregon Society of Soil Scientists. She received her B.S. in Animal Science and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from Oregon State University.

Kelsey Hoegenauer, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the southern United States. Most recently, Hoegenauer was a graduate research assistant at the University of Arkansas conducting research on recycling nutrients using cover crops in row crop systems. She also has served as a graduate research assistant at Auburn University conducting research on the long- and short-term effects of cover cropping on physical and chemical soil properties in a peanut-cotton rotation. As a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture (The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation), she conducted research on blackberry management in rangelands.

Hoegenauer is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and Soil and Water Conservation Society. She received her B.S. in Agronomy from Texas A&M University, M.S. in Plant Science from Auburn University, and Ph.D. in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Soil Fertility emphasis) from the University of Arkansas.

Daniel Liptzin, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the High Plains Region, providing team leadership on soil enzymes and carbon cycling. Liptzin recently served as a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he taught courses in biogeochemistry, environmental science, and climate. His research interests include exploring human effects on the nitrogen cycle, interactions among elemental cycles, redox-sensitive biogeochemistry, and ecosystem processes in seasonally snow-covered ecosystems.

Liptzin is a member of the American Geophysical Union and an investigator at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Site in Colorado. He received his B.S. from Yale University, MES from the University of Pennsylvania, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Charlotte Norris, Ph.D., P.Ag., will serve as project scientist for Canada. Norris has collaborated on research determining best management practices for intensive vegetable production, assessing the effects of agricultural crops on soil health, and evaluating the effects of forest harvesting practices on soil health. This has included investigating indicators of soil health in reclaimed forest ecosystems.

Norris holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Victoria and received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Alberta. She is a registered Professional Agrologist.

Elizabeth (Liz) Rieke, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the northern Midwest and northeastern United States. She will also lead SHI’s assessment of microbial population dynamics using genomic tools as soil health indicators. Most recently, Rieke served as a postdoctoral research associate, Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Rieke is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She received her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, her M.S. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from Iowa State University.

Michael Cope, Ph.D., will serve as the team’s statistician and database manager. Most recently, Cope served as a statistical and research analyst at Clemson University. His expertise includes analysis of large and assorted data. He is skilled in Python Programming, Soil Science, Geographic Information Systems, Ecological Modeling, and Cloud Computing.

Cope received his B.S. in Environmental Studies from Brevard College and his Ph.D. in Forest Resources from Clemson University.

The North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements is supported through the generosity of grants from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and General Mills. To learn more about the project, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/north-american-project-to-evaluate-soil-health-measurements/.

Read the news release here.

CSA News Features Conference on Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health

Soil has an impact on human health in ways that are rarely recognized, according to Anna Wade, Ph.D. student in Environment at Duke University and Elizabeth Stulberg, Ph.D., Science Policy Manager for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

The Conference on Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health was one step towards integrating interests in the soil and medical communities, the authors said. “The onus is now on us to send a clear and consistent message that soil and human health research collaborations are a priority. The Societies can host smaller meetings between soil scientists and public health researchers that could further refine research questions….”

Read the full article here.