George Ruyle honored as Ag-100 Councils 2010 Faculty Member of the Year
Extension range specialist George Ruyle, professor and chair of the Rangeland and Forest Resources program in the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment, has been named the Arizona Agriculture “100” Council’s 2010 Faculty Member of the Year. The annual award recognizes faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) who are leaders in their field and who demonstrate consistent excellence in professional endeavors in service to the agriculture community, along with an outstanding work ethic.
During his 27-year tenure at the UA, Ruyle has served as educator and scientific advisor to Arizona ranching and range communities, using a hands-on approach to demonstrating knowledge tested in real world situations. He is a certified professional in range management and a Fellow of the Society for Range Management, where he has held numerous offices, including president of the Arizona section and chair of the Range land
Assessment and Monitoring Committee. Additionally, he has served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Rangeland Classification, which published the National Academy Press book “Rangeland Health.”
“George is extremely effective in his work,” says Gene Sander, CALS dean. “His professional expertise is outstanding, and he builds very strong relationships across the board. He is one of the most respected authorities in range management in the Southwest.”
Rangelands, including mainly grasslands, shrublands and savannas, but also some forests and woodlands, comprise about 75 percent of Arizona’s land, according to Ruyle. He notes that rangeland serves multiple, sometimes competing uses, including “wildlife habitat, livestock grazing, recreation, open space, scenic beauty, watershed, natural uses and now even uses like storing carbon.” Only about 12 percent of Arizona’s land is privately held, with the remainder about equal parts state trust land, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Indian lands. Thus managing rangeland involves balancing conservation and production goals while taking into account the various groups involved.
“As an extension specialist, outreach is my primary responsibility—working with individuals and local communities, usually through the county Cooperative Extension office and in collaboration with state and federal agencies,” Ruyle says. “I view my role somewhere between practitioner and scholar, providing a theoretical framework for both the ecological and social aspects of range livestock production.”
The Arizona Agriculture “100” Council, an organization of Arizona agribusiness and agricultural production leaders who support CALS, presented its award to Ruyle at its spring meeting in Tucson on March 26. Also known as “Ag-100 Council,” the group was created in 1990 by Bartley P.Cardon, agriculture dean emeritus. — WLJ