In Profile: NRM grad Larry Butler takes to the airwaves with ‘Out on the Land’
Larry Butler rarely lacks for something to say when it comes to conservation and land stewardship, a reflection of his innate enthusiasm to educate his new viewers. Over 39 years – with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, his consulting business, and now his weekly television series, Out on the Land, on RFD-TV – he’s created a style that blends analysis born from his years at Texas Tech with a savvy tendency to hammer home scientific points.
“Texas Tech provided me the base to spring into the world of agriculture and natural resources management,” Butler said. “Now, Out on the Land, provides a national forum with which to help others learn from the stewards of the land as they tell their stories.”
As executive producer and host of Out on the Land, which premiered in January, the bearded and bespeckled Butler takes academic training and on-the-ground field work to the airways every Tuesday and Wednesday. The half-hour television series focuses on exploring American landscapes and discovering how ranchers, farmers and other landowners take care of their land.
“Over the years, I learned more from observing what landowners did on their lands than I did from any other source,” Butler said. Show topics range from water conservation and grazing management to conservation on croplands, rangelands, pasturelands and forestlands. Other features include wildlife management techniques and prescribed burning to restore lands choked by invasive plants.
Butler retired as state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2007. He began his career as a soil conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service (now NRCS) in San Angelo in 1974 following graduation from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. He then served as a range conservationist and district conservationist in Del Rio and as wildlife biologist in College Station, where he completed a master’s degree at Texas A&M. He left Texas in 1987 and served as regional range conservationist for 13 western states after completing his doctorate degree at Utah State in 1990.
The native Texan returned to the Lone Star State in 1994 to serve as resource conservationist for 13 southern states. When the agency reorganized, Butler served the entire nation as a range conservationist in the National Grazing Lands Technology Institute. In 2002, Butler became the tenth Texas State Conservationist. Awards for Butler include Texas Tech’s Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries Department Outstanding Alumnus (2005); Society for Range Management Outstanding Achievement Award (2005); and Tech’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Distinguished Alumnus (2007).
Written by Norman Martin
CONTACT: Mark Wallace, Chairman, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-1983, firstname.lastname@example.org