In our fifth career snapshot, Research Director Larry Earnest, talks to students about what it's like to be a research director at a station in Rohwer, Arkansas.
Larry has worked at the research station for 30 years. He started as a research specialist after getting a B.S. degree in Agriculture Business through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Later he received a M.S. degree in Agronomy.
"A lot of things I could have done over the years that I could have probably made twice the money that I make here today but I don't think I could have been any more satisfied with the job that I'm doing today."
Larry's overall job is to maintain the sustainability of land and crop yield. Production practices are developed by researchers to help producers maintain soybean yields and sustain the farm land. He also finds funding and new equipment to optimize research efforts.
For example, one machine known as the plot combine, is able to cut more soybeans at once instead of using 15 people to hand cut them. The soybeans are then weighed and the information is downloaded into a spreadsheet which is available within minutes after harvesting. Because of the efficiency of machines like the plot combine, research information is more readily available to producers.
"People have to be happy in what they do first and money second, in my opinion."
A lot of what these researchers do would not have been possible if the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB) had not been formed years ago. ASPB has worked with researchers to help maintan a high level of research plots to increase soybean yields in the state.