Stewardship of Public Lands Is Cultural and Critical
George Ruyle has been interested in farming and ranching since he was a boy in Illinois. At the UA, he helps Arizona's ranching community work with the state and federal government to act as stewards of the land.
By: Emily Litvack, UA Research, Discovery and Innovation April 10, 2017
If you were flying over the state of Arizona, you would see cities, bodies of water, thick forests. Mostly, though, you would see rangeland — vast expanses used largely for grazing livestock and recreation. According to George Ruyle, rangeland makes up about 70 percent of the state's landscape, and the people who keep it that way are ranchers.
Ruyle — who sports a Cinch zip-up jacket, blue jeans, a cream-colored cowboy hat and a graying horseshoe mustache — is a professor of range management for the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Ruyle was raised in a farming community in south-central Illinois. Throughout high school, he worked on a local farm, where he developed a love of agriculture and ecology and an appreciation for wide-open spaces. He moved to Arizona after graduation to work on his uncle's ranch and earned his bachelor's degree in Environmental Resources and Agriculture from Arizona State University. After earning his doctorate in rangeland science from Utah State University, Ruyle returned to Arizona and has now been at the UA since 1983.