Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friends (Still) at Work: Noni Harland

by Fran Jurga | 22 December 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Life Data Labs in Cherokee, Alabama is such a nice place to work that no one wants to retire. That's the gist of an article in an Alabama newspaper today, which cited the supplement manufacturer for its high percentage of workers who are working beyond retirement age...because they want to.

But Noni Harland wins the prize. She is 91, and still comes to work every day.

The day I visited, Noni was keeping an eagle eye on the vaccum-sealed bags of supplements as they were packed for shipping. Hard work runs in her family; Noni's daughter Linda is president of Life Data Labs.

I remember visiting the plant a while ago, and there she was, just as bright and friendly as can be, although that could be said of all the employees. I think it is hard for some people to reconcile the "big company" status of Life Data: they dominate the hoof supplement race, do their own research with a PhD/DVM on hand every day, and run a research farm that would be the envy of any big feed company. And the horses that run in the fields there would be the envy of many Thoroughbred breeders.

So you think their corporate headquarters is in a skyscraper somewhere, don't you? Or in a glass and steel temple in an upscale corporate office park? Think again. Corporate offices are a few steps from the entrance to the spotless mill where the supplements are made. And the massive warehouse is just beyond that.

Dr. Frank Gravlee took some time off to show me around the warehouse. I think he might be researching anti-aging supplements for humans on the side.

From my experience, I'd say that Noni and Dr. Frank and others at Life Data Labs keep working into their senior years because there's no place they'd rather be but keeping that company at the forefront. Their hard work put Farriers Formula on top, and my guess is that they plan to keep it that way.

To read more about the unique age group of employees at Life Data Labs, read the article in the Muscles Shoals Times Daily. The Life Data Labs web site is always worth a visit too, as is their new YouTube channel. You can subscribe to their channel and you'll receive email notifications when new videos are posted by Life Data Labs on

And the next time you open a bucket of Farriers Formula, and you see that little brochure in there on top of the pellets, you can stop and smile. Noni's been hard at work to get it ready for you.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to