NRCS Texas state conservationist announces retirement

Temple, Texas – Dr. Larry D. Butler, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas, has announced his retirement effective March 2, 2007.

“As an NRCS employee for almost 33 years and as a native Texan, I can think of no higher honor than to have served as state conservationist for Texas,” Butler said. “Texas is a leader in conservation, and I am proud to have had the privilege of working with many conservation landowners that made that happen.”

Butler began his career as a soil conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now NRCS, in San Angelo, Texas, in 1974 following his graduation from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. He also served as a range conservationist and district conservationist in Del Rio and as wildlife biologist in College Station and Bryan, where he completed a master’s degree at Texas A&M University in 1980. He held the positions of district conservationist in San Antonio and area conservationist in Pecos. He left Texas in 1987 and served as regional range conservationist for 13 western states after completing his doctorate degree at Utah State University in 1990.

Butler returned to Texas in 1994 to serve as resource conservationist for 13 southern states. When SCS reorganized in 1995 and became the NRCS, Butler served the entire nation as a range conservationist in the National Grazing Lands Technology Institute. He served as director of the Institute for five years where he was responsible for all NRCS grazing lands technology development and transfer for private lands in the United States. In 2002, Butler became the 10th Texas state conservationist where he was responsible for direction and supervision of all NRCS programs and personnel throughout Texas.

Throughout Butler’s more than 32-year career, he assisted landowners and managers with improvement and management of ranch lands, including wildlife habitat and populations and livestock grazing management. His masters and doctoral research focused on white-tailed deer hunting lease management and mule deer fee hunting operations in Texas, respectively.

Texas Tech University’s Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries Department honored Butler as their Outstanding Alumnus in 2005, “For his demonstrated strong leadership in preserving and improving our natural resources throughout Texas and the Nation.” Texas Tech’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will bestow their Distinguished Alumnus honor on him in February of this year. The Society for Range Management also honored Butler in 2005 with their Outstanding Achievement award. Although Butler has received many awards from SCS, NRCS, and USDA throughout his career, he considers these his highest honors.

Butler and his wife, Dorlene, make their home in Fort Worth. Butler plans to continue his life-long pursuit of conservation by helping people improve their properties and wildlife habitat.

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