Buckeye Farm News provides this quick look to help you match the names you’ll be hearing with the faces you’ll be seeing.
Cliff Hite, Chairman, Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee: Hite, R-Findlay, joined the Senate this year after two consecutive terms in the Ohio House of Representatives and serving on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He was a teacher and coach for nearly 30 years prior to being elected to serve in the General Assembly and was named a 2010 Friend of Agriculture.
Dave Hall, Chairman, House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee: Hall, R-Killbuck, is currently serving his second term in the Ohio House. He is an active farmer in Holmes County and was named a 2010 Friend of Agriculture. He served for more than a decade as Holmes County commissioner prior to joining the legislature.
“Both chairmen are excited to work with each other, their respective caucuses, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio Farm Bureau to help agriculture move forward and continue to be a driver of economic development in our state,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Director of State Policy Beth Vanderkooi.
Scott J. Nally, Director, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Nally is responsible for implementing “federal and state regulations to protect human health and the environment while ensuring the environmentally sound operations of business and government activities imperative to economic growth.” He spent the last six years as senior manager at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Vanderkooi said OFBF will work with Nally on continuing issues, including the transfer of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program from Ohio EPA to ODA, as well as water quality issues in the state.
David Mustine, Director, Ohio Department of Natural Resources: During a January visit with OFBF’s state board of trustees, Mustine commended Ohio Farm Bureau’s work on a number of issues, particularly in regard to Marcellus and Utica Shale and oil and gas drilling issues, said Vanderkooi.
“He also indicated water quality and issues with Grand Lake St. Marys are of importance to him.” A native of Washington Court House, Mustine has spent most of his career in the oil and gas industry with his own consulting company and served 15 years working for American Electric Power.
Ohio Department of Agriculture
Director of Agriculture James Zehringer: The first cabinet member appointed by Gov. Kasich upon his inauguration, Zehringer has been a long-time Friend of Agriculture while previously serving as state representative for the 77th Ohio House District. He has been recognized with multiple awards for outstanding environmental practices on his northwest Ohio poultry and fish farm.
“Director Zehringer and his team share similar views with Ohio Farm Bureau on the proper role of government, the importance of agriculture to Ohio and the need for consumers to have confidence in food and farming methods,” said Vanderkooi. “We look forward to continuing a positive relationship with him to move agriculture forward in Ohio.”
ODA appointments made by Zehringer include:
- Assistant Director Frederick M. Shimp: A long-time friend of Ohio agriculture, Shimp has served in several key roles. He worked closely with northwest Ohio farmers while serving as district director for Congressman Jim Jordan prior to his appointment. He was also a former deputy director and legislative liaison for ODA during the Voinovich and Taft administrations. Shimp will oversee ODA’s day-to-day regulatory operations and laboratories, in addition to the department’s policies and procedures.
- Deputy Director Rocky Black: Ohio Farm Bureau members may recognize Black, who recently spent six years at OFBF working on state policy on behalf of members. Black is a former senior adviser on governmental issues for the Ohio Soybean Association, was co-owner of Public Policy Solutions, LLC, and served as director of legislative affairs under Gov. George Voinovich. His responsibilities now include overseeing ODA’s legislative efforts and shaping department policy, while also focusing on promoting agribusiness opportunities.
Buchy replaces Zehringer: Long-time state representative and former ODA Deputy Director Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, can once again be found in the Statehouse. The president of Buchy Food Service food distributor in Mercer County fills the seat vacated by Zehringer. Buchy received Ohio Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award in 2008 for his outstanding service to Ohio agriculture.