The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ new director of government affairs comes not only with rich experience in the state legislature, executive branch of state government, and in an advocacy role for policy and funding at the state and national levels, he also agricultural roots from a childhood growing up on a corn, soybean and hog farm in Champaign County.
Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association, is expected to begin his new position March 6.
“I have dedicated my career to advocating for Ohio’s farmers, and there is no better place to do that than at The Ohio State University,” Ward said. “The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has touched my life from a very young age. I look forward to working with the college and university to strengthen the role CFAES plays in developing generations of food, agricultural and environmental professionals in Ohio and the world beyond.”
At the Ohio Soybean Association, Ward managed a membership-driven advocacy organization by implementing the strategic vision of its 20-member board and directed an advocacy team at the Ohio Statehouse. Ward also served as director of marketing and outreach for the Ohio Soybean Council.
Prior to that, Ward served as an assistant to the Governor’s Energy Advisor at the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, as legislative director and acting deputy director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and as a legislative aide at the Ohio House of Representatives. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Capital University.
“Adam will be a great addition to the CFAES leadership team,” said Lonnie King, interim vice president for agricultural administration and interim dean of CFAES. “As an experienced policy advocate for the agriculture community, he will work with the university’s advocacy team to ensure CFAES’s place as a leader in the integration of cutting-edge research, teaching excellence and innovative outreach programs.”
As government affairs director, Ward will develop and strengthen relationships with public officials at all levels of government, university advocates, agencies, university leadership when appropriate, and related staff for these groups to positively impact the college and advance the university’s agenda. He will serve as a member of The Ohio State University Government Affairs Team; will monitor legislation and governmental issues; will execute lobbying efforts, appropriation requests and preparation; and will participate in strategy development.
“Adam’s background in government affairs and agricultural policy makes him a great fit for Ohio State,” said Blake Thompson, vice president of government affairs and secretary of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees. “His broad experience will advance the college and the university agenda in all 88 counties, at the statehouse and in the halls of congress. We’re excited for him to join our team.”
Ward will play a key role in advocating on behalf of the college before the Ohio General Assembly and executive branch on the biennial state appropriations that support the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension, which are CFAES’s research and outreach arms. He also will work with OSU Extension and local elected officials to continue their financial support for county Extension offices.