A Custer County rancher and a Day County farmer are the two newest members of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.
Governor Kristi Noem said Monday she has appointed Travis Bies of Fairburn and Robert Whitmyre of Webster.
Bies and Whitmyre succeed rancher Barry Jensen of White River and farmer Cathy Peterson of Salem.
Jensen and Peterson had served the maximum eight years allowed under state law.
Bies and Whitmyre will officially start serving at the commission’s next regular meeting February 28.
“Travis and Robert have proven their commitment to South Dakota and will bring new perspectives to outdoor recreation and habitat resources,” Noem said in the announcement.
She continued, “I appreciate their willingness to serve and make our state a better place to live and work – not only for today, but for the next generation.”
Bies raises cattle and has five children. Whitmyre and his wife, Tonia, have been married 29 years and have three children.
“Every day, we see mule deer, whitetails, prairie dogs, birds and more, Bies said in the news release. “Seeing wildlife on the ranch is a sign that we’re managing our resources properly, not only for our livestock, but also for the wildlife and the next generation of ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts.”
Said Whitmyre, “Outdoor recreation and caring for the land are not just things we do around here; it is who we are. Serving for the next generation is important to me to ensure that we are continuously enhancing the quantity and quality of outdoor recreational opportunities with a peaceful and respectful approach.”
The commission has eight members. State law requires that not more than four be of the same political party and that at least four must live or work on farms that derive at least two-thirds of their gross income from crop or livestock production.
The six other current members are Mary Anne Boyd of Yankton, Gary Jensen of Rapid City, Jon Locken of Bath, Russ Olson of Wentworth, Scott Phillips of New Underwood and Doug Sharp of Watertown.