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For Immediate Release

Jon S. Fitch to be inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame


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Jon S. Fitch

Jon Fitch was a dedicated public servant who never let the men and women of agriculture leave his thoughts. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1979 at the age of 29, and served there for six years until being elected to the Arkansas Senate. He was a fixture there for 18 years. While in the legislature he served on and chaired numerous committees, including the Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development committee where he stood up for the needs of farmers and ranchers.

A sixth-generation cattleman, Fitch operated an 800-acre cattle ranch in Madison County and knew first-hand the challenges facing Arkansas ranchers. In 1985, Arkansas was on the verge of having its cattle quarantined because of the presence of the reproductive disease brucellosis. That year Fitch led passage of the Brucellosis Eradication Act. The law mandated inspections and vaccinations of cattle herds in the state and Fitch saw to it the program received the appropriations needed to sustain it. Through his efforts the state was declared brucellosis-free in 1997.

In 2007 Governor Mike Beebe appointed Fitch as director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, a position he held until his death in February, 2011. The commission was established in 1963 and interestingly, Jon’s father Rolla Fitch, was the agency’s first director. One of his accomplishments was obtaining funding through the Arkansas Agriculture Department to build a state-of-the-art Emergency Disease Response facility. While he was director Fitch oversaw the state’s response to an outbreak of Avian Influenza in northwest Arkansas. The threat was dealt with quickly and the new facility allows the agency to effectively respond to any disease outbreak in the future.

Jon Fitch loved life, ranching and serving his fellow man through his many positions of influence in the legislature and state government. He is remembered as a staunch advocate of the livestock industry and friend to many.

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Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 210,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
steve.eddington@arfb.com
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

or

Ken Moore
ken.moore@arfb.com
(501) 228-1512
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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