The Missouri Department of Conservation was conceived at the low point of U.S. conservation history. Unregulated hunting, fishing and trapping and the abuse of forests had decimated the state’s natural resources. Missouri sportsmen devised a solution that was as simple as it was revolutionary. They drafted a constitutional amendment creating a non-political conservation agency. Voters approved the amendment in 1936 by a margin of 71 to 29 percent, one of the largest margins by which any amendment to the state constitution has ever passed. It gave Missouri the world's first non-political, science-based conservation agency with exclusive authority over forests, fish and wildlife.
Requirements of Conservation Commissioners are outlined in the Constitution of Missouri, Section 40 (a):
- Four members appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, not more than two of whom shall be of the same political party.
- Members shall have knowledge of and interest in wildlife conservation.
- Serve a term of six years beginning on the first day of July of consecutive odd years.
- Members shall receive no salary or other compensation, but shall receive reimbursement for travel and other expenses.
Responsibilities carried out by Conservation Commissioners are statewide and include actions such as:
- Appointing a director of the Department.
- Serving as the Department’s policy makers.
- Approving Wildlife Code regulations.
- Strategic planning.
- Budget development and major expenditure decisions.
(Republican—term expires July 1, 2015)
Mr. Bedell is an accomplished businessman, avid conservationist and enthusiastic sportsman. He is a Life Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, a Life Member of Quail Unlimited, Inc., a Sustaining Member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, a Diamond Sponsor of the National Wild Turkey Federation and a Life Member of Safari Club International. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Science in Animal Nutrition with a double minor in biochemistry and wildlife. He is owner of B&B Boats and Bikes in Sikeston and B&R Marine & Cycle in Batesville, Ark. He has founded and run numerous other businesses, primarily in healthcare/nursing home management. He serves on numerous boards of directors and is an advisory board member to the Southeast Missouri State University College of Health and Human Services.
(Republican—term expires July 1, 2017)
Jim Blair is past president of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, a current board member for the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and has served on local, state and national committees for Ducks Unlimited. He and his wife, Anna, are avid hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
(Democrat—term expires July 1, 2013)
Becky Plattner has served the public since 1981 and as the twice-elected Presiding Commissioner and Budget Officer of Saline County from 2002-2010. Until the sudden death of her husband, Russell, in December 2009, she also worked as Financial Manager of their family farming business, Plattner Brothers Custom Farming, LLC. Ms. Plattner attended the University of Central Missouri and Missouri Valley College with an accounting major.
(Democrat—term expires July 1, 2013)
Don Johnson, an enthusiastic hunter and angler, was president of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) from 2006 until his appointment to the Commission in 2007. In addition to serving as CFM's president, he has held the posts of second and first vice president, has chaired the Ways and Means and Executive committees and has served on the Waterways Resources, Deer, Turkey and Ruffed Grouse committees. Johnson is also a member of the National Wildlife Federation and the National Rifle Association. Active in archery education, Johnson helped launch Missouri's Archery in the Schools Program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He served as a pilot in the United States Air Force, flying 130 combat missions in Vietnam and earning four Air Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.