JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) welcome Barry Orscheln of Columbia as the newest member of the four-person Conservation Commission. Orscheln was appointed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson Feb. 28. The appointment was confirmed by the Missouri Senate April 4.
Orscheln is the chairman and CEO of Orscheln Industries, a privately-owned, third-generation business employing more than 3,500 people and headquartered in Moberly. The Orscheln group of diversified companies is engaged in manufacturing, retail, commercial real estate development, and other businesses.
Orscheln began his career with the company in 1977 and has served as its CEO for the past 29 years. He graduated from Central Methodist College in 1972 with degrees in Business Administration and Economics. He has served with numerous community, statewide, and national organizations, including as chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, chairman of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, and as director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food and Agriculture Committee.
Orscheln has been an avid hunter and angler since his early years.
“I started fishing at five or six with my grandfather and uncles and have been hooked ever since,” Orscheln recalled. “I started hunting rabbits and squirrels at about 12 and got my first shotgun at 14 to start hunting birds. I kept that gun, which is about 50 years old. I had it rebuilt and gave it to my son for Christmas a couple of years ago.”
Orscheln said that hunting, fishing, and appreciating Missouri’s outdoor offerings were key in helping build his character and skills. He added that those things remain important for future generations.
“Learning to hunt and fish, respecting our outdoors, and being mindful of conservation were very important to my early years and remain very important for kids today and for future generations,” he said. “Teaching kids to respect and value our fish, forests, and wildlife -- especially at a young age -- will stick with them for rest of their lives. I want my children and grandchildren to have the same outdoor opportunities I had and to be able to enjoy a wealth and variety of outdoor activities like I did.”
Regarding his appointment to the Missouri Conservation Commission, Orscheln said he accepted the appointment to help make an already well-run agency even better.
“We have a very sound, well-respected, and well-run Conservation Department,” he said. “The appeal to me in being appointed a commissioner is to be a part of such a quality organization and to help further conservation efforts in Missouri.”
His Commission colleagues welcome him to the job.
“We extend a warm welcome to Commissioner Orscheln and appreciate both the extensive business-management expertise he brings to the Commission along with his lifelong love of conservation through hunting, fishing, and other activities in Missouri’s great outdoors,” said Commission Chair Marilynn J. Bradford.
As a commissioner, Orscheln joins Bradford of Jefferson City, Commission Vice Chair David W. Murphy of Columbia, and Commission Secretary Don C. Bedell of Sikeston. The four commissioners are responsible for appointing the Conservation Department director, serving as policy makers, approving Wildlife Code regulations, strategic planning, budget development, and major expenditure decisions. For more information on the Missouri Conservation Commission, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/about-us/conservation-commission.