Growing up in Martin County, in Northeastern North Carolina, agriculture was a part of Ryan’s life from the start. His father, Danny Butler, is a lifelong agricultural educator serving the communities of Martin County for nearly 40 years as a Vocational Agriculture High School Teacher and as an extension agent for North Carolina State University. Many of Ryan’s family members were farmers, and he quickly developed the hard work ethic so vital to life on America’s small farms.
One of the most influential people in Ryan’s childhood was his Great Uncle J.A. Stalls – his next-door neighbor. Living and struggling through the Great Depression, Uncle J. A. became an expert of living off of the land. As a child, Ryan spent many summer and fall afternoons selling his uncle’s sweet corn, pumpkins, and collards. His Uncle J. A. taught him how to be a proficient outdoorsman, make homemade wine, and grow his own food.
Ryan attended Davidson College and earned a B.S degree in Agricultural Business Management with a concentration in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University. Over his fifteen year working career, Ryan has worked for the USDA, big chemical, an international grocer, and worldwide financial institutions. Those experiences have provided first hand knowledge of how our current agricultural system is broken and where we are as a nation of people starved for local, safe food.
Ryan is the CFO (Chief Farming Officer) of Green Button Farm. He has a seemingly innate ability to care for animals and increase soil fertility. He finds it extremely rewarding to grow food for people he loves. You should see the animals follow Ryan around the farm. Their mutual love and respect for one another is evident.
Ryan is also a partner in Picnic Durham, a new modern BBQ joint in North Durham.
The thread that keeps the Green Button on are our wonderful friends and family. Our parents have spent countless hours and resources helping this labor of love grow. Our closest friends have literally moved mountains of soil, purchased hundreds of dozens of eggs, listened to many worries, and even provided legal advice all in faith that we would make it. You all know who you are, and we are richer for knowing each of you.