Professor Butz was an early researcher in the field of agricultural finance and an outstanding teacher of finance and agricultural policy. He was a prolific writer. But the arena in which he starred was as an administrator. Earl served as head of the Department of Agricultural Economics from 1946 to 1954. From 1954 to 1957 he was Assistant Secretary of Agriculture under Secretary Benson and President Eisenhower when he returned to Purdue in the capacity of Dean of Agriculture. Earl served in that position until 1971 when President Nixon called on him to be Secretary of Agriculture. In 1974 he headed the United States delegation to the World Food Conference. He has served on the Board of Directors of a number of major U.S. corporations.
Earl was the first recipient of the Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics at Purdue. He is a member of a number of professional societies and has served as an officer of three of them. His honors, in addition to the honorary degrees listed below, include the Alpha Zeta Distinguished Service Award, the American Farm Bureau Alumnus Award of Alpha Gamma Rho, of which he was National President for three years. Upon his official retirement from Purdue in 1972, he was designated Dean Emeritus. He was a continuous and active member of his church and community.
B.S. Purdue, 1932; Ph.D. Purdue, 1937; Chicago (Special Study); LL.D. (Hon.) Purdue, 1973; D.P.A. (Hon.) Tri-State College (Ind.), 1973.