Tappan takes on new role as AGFC Commissioner

By Randy Zellers, Assistant Chief of Communications for AGFC 

LITTLE ROCK — Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Philip Tappan as the newest member of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at a special announcement July 1 at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Tappan replaces exiting Chairman Andrew Parker.

Philip Tappan

“I want to express appreciation to Andrew Parker,” Hutchinson said. “He has steered so well the Commission during his time of leadership.”

Tappan, who is 60 years old, is the managing partner of Tappan Land and Water, which owns the majority interest in Quality Foods LLC, the parent company of Purple Cow Restaurants.

Tappan’s track record in business and his dedication to his community were definite highlights to his resume, according to Hutchinson, but the selection also was based on the need to conserve the state’s natural resources and manage for the needs and desires of Arkansans.

“It’s his understanding of the need of conservation and the responsibilities that we have to our incredible natural heritage,” Hutchinson said. “That’s why each of these Commissioners are on the Commission, and Philip joins those ranks with being passionate not just about the sport of hunting and fishing but also the responsibility we have to be good stewards of God’s creation and the special place that we call Arkansas.” 

Tappan spoke of his passion for Arkansas and his birthplace.

“I still call Helena home, I still hunt there and my brother Charlie (who still lives in Helena) keeps me well up to speed,” Tappan said. “I was reared like many of you, in a household of people who had a love of the outdoors. Not only a father who was the most avid duck hunter I know…but a mother who was just as adamant about the habitat, nature. I still remember the Reed’s songbird book that sat on our coffee table.”

Tappan said he could not remember a time when he or one of his four brothers wasn’t practicing their yelp on a box call, tuning a duck call for the perfect tone or cleaning hunting guns on the utility room countertop. But it was a meeting with former Commissioner George Dunklin that opened his eyes to the increasing need for conservation and proper habitat management. 

“After a day in the car with George and Jody Pagan of learning the practices of ground manipulation, mulching the understory, water controls, I became bitten by the habitat restoration,” Tappan said. 

Tappan graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He and his wife, Gina, have three children — Drew, Madison and Sarah. Tappan’s term is set to expire in 2028.