So what's this? Grilled steaks for lunch at the NCRS? In the (almost) winter? Is this some sort of special occasion?
And does that cake really say "Best Wishes Doug"? Well it's all true. This week is the last week of Doug at the NCRS. I can't believe I'm even writing these words, but Doug is moving on to another job within the growing world of Agro-Liquid. He will become the company's first Fleet Manager. It seems that with the increasing numbers of trucks, trailers, tankers, cars, railcars, etc in various states, someone is needed to help keep them up to speed (no pun intended) as far as licensing, maintenance schedules, new purchases, and probably lots more stuff. Doug has been at the farm for over 16 years, and well, when opportunity knocks....
Let's take a look back at Doug's career at the NCRS. He started there in the spring of 1996, which was the third season of the research farm. Back then it was just Doug and me and a couple of high school students in the summer. But that was the start of what the NCRS is today. Below is Doug in 1997 with our new Kinze planter that he designed for plots and did all the plumbing and electrical hook ups. Doug gained a reputation for being able to build anything. (Hard to believe all the time we spent back then doing rate calibrations with graduated cylinders and stop watches. But we didn't know any different.)
We would regularly try something new, often brought up by Mr. Cook. Below we see Doug in 1996 using a weed wiper filled with fertilizer being wiped onto soybeans. Hey, you never know till you try.
It's hard to believe the way we did things back in the day. The picture below is from 1998. Before we had our sugarbeet lifter with a beet tank, we used a 2-row home made lifter that fed them into that green basket, and we would use the loader on a tractor to lift it onto our old grain weigh wagon to get the plot weights. It used to take forever to harvest sugarbeets. But again, at the time, we didn't know different. So I think going through all of these experiences back in the "old" days makes you appreciate all of the modern ways of today. And it was Doug that brought us to what we have today.
So we all wish Doug the best as he makes the transition. Thanks doesn't do the job of expressing my gratitude to Doug for his dedication and friendship. His leadership should have us prepared as we move on in the research future. (You know, looking at all of these old pictures, Doug hasn't aged a bit! One of the many wonders of the NCRS.)