Former U.S. Sen. John Glenn will speak.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- More than 200 Ohioans are expected to attend the Ohio Department of Agriculture's 6th Annual Farmland Preservation Summit on Thursday.The event, among other things, will feature comments by former U.S. Sen. John Glenn.
"We're pretty excited," said Michael Bailey, executive director of the ODA's Office of Farmland Preservation.
He said the summit is expected to bring together a variety of people throughout the state who are interested in preserving farmland, including lawmakers, other public officials, farmers and other citizens, and even those involved in economic development.
The summit is expected to begin at 8:15 with a continental breakfast and a blue-grass band.
Participants will then be welcomed by ODA Director Fred Dailey and updated by Bailey on farmland preservation efforts of the past year and learn briefly of efforts in the coming year.
"The key thing is we'll talk about accomplishments of farmland preservation over the last year," Bailey said.
Representatives of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio will update participants on legislative issues regarding farmland preservation.
Participants also will get to select one of three discussion groups including local land-use options and planning and zoning issues.
The second group will discuss the role of farm entrepreneurs including looking at ways Ohio farmers have diversified and remained successful and profitable in farming.
A panel of Ohio farmers who have experience with agricultural easements will be featured in the third group.
"This will certainly be an interesting session," Bailey added.
Glenn is expected to address participants during lunch.
Bailey said Glenn was asked to speak at the summit because of his work on the Clean Ohio Fund, which provided $25 million to the agricultural easement program.
"He really dedicated himself to that effort," he said.
After lunch, participants will learn more about the future of the Clean Ohio fund from a panel of representatives from The Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust and Rails to Trails.
The sessions will close with more comments about the future of farmland preservation from Larry Long, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.