Larry Varner

Larry Varner, Ph.D.

Senior Nutritionist, Wildlife Technical Solutions

Watching the customers I have worked with get really excited when they produce quality animals and knowing I had a part in it, is by far the most rewarding thing I do



University of Nebraska


He is responsible for developing nutrient and ingredient specifications, quality and technical support for current deer and elk products. He travels all over the US to work with Purina sales team members, dealers, ranches and game farms to develop nutrition and management plans for native deer, elk and non-native wildlife.

“Wildlife, especially deer, has always been my passion. I’m grateful that Purina has made a commitment to produce new and innovative wildlife products that help outdoor enthusiasts to achieve their goal of producing a quality, healthy and productive wildlife population,” says Dr. Varner.

Dr. Varner’s research expertise and interests include:

  • Supplemental feeding programs for free ranging wildlife to improve quality.
  • Influence of nutrition on antler development in deer and elk.
  • Feeding/management programs for deer and elk in confinement.
  • Plant preferences and diet composition of wildlife and livestock.
  • Nutritive evaluation of native and introduced forage plants for livestock and wildlife use. 

“I am most proud of development of the AntlerMax® line of deer feed and it has been extremely rewarding to watch our deer feed tonnage grow from basically zero to a major contributor to our business,” says Dr. Varner.

Dr. Varner is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, member of the Wildlife Society, Comparative Nutrition Society, Texas Deer Association and Texas Wildlife Association. He has served on many committees of various wildlife organizations. He was involved in producing and editing the Chapter on “Nutrient Requirements of Deer” in the National Research Council Publication “Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants.” He is often called upon to lecture at universities, seminars and symposia.

Prior to coming to Purina almost 25 years ago he was on the faculty of the University of Nebraska, served as a USDA Scientist in Montana and was a Research Scientist in Range Animal Nutrition with the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station and Texas A&M University. He has published over 30 technical papers and two book chapters on nutrition and metabolism of wildlife and livestock. He has served as a graduate student advisor and committee member at the University of Nebraska, Montana State University and Texas A&M University.

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