Neil Bien
Bien Ranch
Veblen, South Dakota

Mr. Neil Bien was the second of seven children born on land in South Dakota originally homesteaded by his great-grandmother and grandfather. He attended a one-room country school for grades 1-8, graduated from Veblen High School, received degrees in biology and chemistry from Northern State University, and pursued graduate studies at South Dakota State University.

He began managing the family beef ranch at age 18, upon the death of his father. Mr. Bien managed the ranch while attending school and later while teaching high school biology. Since ending his 16-year teaching career, he has ranched full time, increasing the ranch’s acreage and livestock numbers and building its infrastructure. He has restored 15 wetlands, totaling approximately 120-150 acres, and has preserved 100 natural wetlands.

Mr. Bien has served on several state commissions, including the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Commission and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts. He also serves on several local boards, including the Marshall County Conservation District, the Lake Region Electric Co-op, the Four Seasons Cenex Co-op, and hospital and church councils. He and his wife, Muriel, have two sons—Dr. Matt (Darcie) Bien and Lance (Sheila) Bien—and six cherished grandchildren.