OH: Ex-Ag chief Zehringer to be natural resources boss

Columbus – Gov. John Kasich named James J. Zehringer to head the
Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) on Tuesday, Nov.
15.

Zehringer is currently director of the Ohio Department of
Agriculture (ODA) and was one of Kasich’s first cabinet
appointments, following the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Kasich’s office inquired last week about the ethics involved in
moving Zehringer to ODNR, according to the Gongwer Report. And, the
ODNR rumor mill was running at high speed on Monday about a pending
appointment.

Former ODNR Director David Mustine, whose background is largely in
the energy industry, moved to JobsOhio on Sept. 7, leaving Scott
Zody as acting director at the resource and recreation-based
agency. Zody, meanwhile, has been named chief of the Division of
Wildlife.

Tony Forshey, DVM, the state veterinarian, will serve as interim
director of ODA.

Zehringer’s appointment strengthens the relationship between Ohio’s
agricultural and natural resources communities. Along with the Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the agencies are addressing
several issues of shared concern, including shale gas drilling in
eastern Ohio, exotic animal control, toxic algae blooms in Lake
Erie’s Western Basin, and ongoing agricultural pollution in Grand
Lake St. Marys in Mercer and Auglaize counties, according to Rob
Nichols, Kasich’s press secretary.

Zehringer will bring several Ag staffers to ODNR, including Andy
Ware as deputy director.

Prior to his service at ODA, Zehringer was the state representative
for the 77th House District and is the former owner and operator of
the Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm in Fort Recovery, Ohio.

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