Four members of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation's Agricultural Division recently became the organization's first-ever senior agricultural consultants.

Dan Childs, Chuck Coffey, Eddie Funderburg, Ph.D., and Mike Porter were awarded the title of senior agricultural consultant after they reached the highest benchmarks established by the division's “career path” guidelines. Together, the four senior agricultural consultants have more than 110 years of experience.

“The title of senior agricultural consultant is reserved for those individuals who excel in all facets of their career path,” said Wadell Altom, senior vice president and director of the Agricultural Division. “These four gentlemen have proven throughout their lengthy careers to be superior consultants with tremendous expertise in their chosen disciplines and excellent reputations throughout the region. We are proud of each of them.”

Below are short profiles of each of the Noble Foundation's new senior agricultural consultants:

Dan Childs has been an agricultural economist with the Noble Foundation Agricultural Division since 1978. He is certified by the Internal Revenue Service as an enrolled agent and is an accredited farm manager by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University. Before coming to the Noble Foundation, Childs spent three years with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and a short time with the United States Department of Agriculture. He is also a veteran of the United States Army.

Chuck Coffey has been a pasture and range consultant with the Noble Foundation since 1993. He is a certified range management consultant by the Society for Range Management. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Range Science from Texas A&M University. Before coming to the Foundation, Coffey chaired the agricultural program at Murray State College where he taught courses in agronomy and managed an extensive farming operation. He also has worked as a rangeland specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers and as the assistant curator of the S.M. Tracy Herbarium at Texas A&M University.

Eddie Funderburg, Ph.D., joined the Noble Foundation in 2000 as a soil and crops consultant after 20 years with the Louisiana and Mississippi Cooperative Extension Services as a county agent and state Extension soil specialist. Funderburg earned a bachelor's degree in Vocational Agriculture from Louisiana Tech University. He went on to receive a master's degree in Agronomy and a doctorate in Education from Louisiana State University.

Mike Porter came to the Noble Foundation as the organization's first wildlife consultant when the program was initiated in 1980. Porter is a certified wildlife biologist by The Wildlife Society and certified professional in rangeland management by the Society for Range Management. He holds a bachelor's degree in Wildlife and Fisheries sciences and a master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Before coming to the Noble Foundation, Porter worked as an independent wildlife management consultant for ranchers in south Texas and a range research technical assistant for Texas A&M University Range Sciences Department.

The primary mission of the Noble Foundation's Agricultural Division is to help land managers achieve their financial, production, stewardship and quality-of-life goals through its extensive consultation program.

Land managers who participate in the agricultural consulting program are called “cooperators.” Currently, the Noble Foundation provides advice and assistance to more than 1,600 cooperators. Each cooperator is served by a team that is comprised of agricultural consultants with expertise in forages, livestock, soil and crops, agricultural economics, horticulture, and wildlife and fisheries. Team members work together to tailor recommendations to address each cooperator's unique circumstances.

The Noble Foundation's agricultural consultation program serves a 47-county area, roughly a 100-mile radius around Ardmore. Generally, this service area encompasses a region extending from Oklahoma City to Dallas and from Wichita Falls to Paris.

The consultation services are offered at no monetary cost to the land owner in the service area. Inclusion in the program is contingent only upon active participation, which includes implementing recommendations and providing production information back to the consulting team.