LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Former Arkansas state Sen. Jon Fitch, 56, director of the state Livestock and Poultry Commission, died Feb. 26 of complications from a stroke, said Leslie Taylor, spokeswoman for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Fitch was named to head the livestock agency in 2007. Gov. Mike Beebe said Fitch had been a dear friend and dependable ally in the Senate and that Fitch had bolstered both the efficiency and morale of the Livestock and Poultry Commission.