Rumors and hearsay indicate that the next director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture may be Bob Peterson, from Fayette County, who is currently serving as State Representative of the 85th House District in his first term at the Ohio House of Representatives. There has been no official announcement, but plenty of talk about Peterson being the next to serve as ODA Director.The post has been filled by Interim Director Tony Forshey since the departure of former Director Jim Zehringer after he left to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Peterson grew up on his family’s farm in Fayette County. After graduating from The Ohio State University, he returned to the family farm, which he currently operates with his father and brother. The Peterson Family Farm is an eighth generation grain and livestock farm. The 1,800 acre operation produces corn, soybean, wheat, hay, and livestock. The farm’s soybean and wheat are raised for seed production and 75 acres are devoted to research test plots.
His interest in strengthening agriculture led to his involvement with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation at the county, state and national levels, culminating in his service as president for almost five years. Representative Peterson was also a member of the American Farm Bureau Board of Trustees, working with both the Ohio Legislature and the United States’ Congress. He served as a member of the USDA Trade Advisory Committee and Farm Bureau Bank Board of Directors.
In 1996, Peterson chose to run for Fayette County Commissioner, where he served for 14 years, prioritizing spending to meet citizen needs in a fiscally responsible fashion. As County Commissioner, Representative Peterson served on the County Commissioners Association of Ohio Board of Trustees (CCAO), Ohio Bureau of Adult Detention Jail Advisory Board, County Risk Sharing Association Board (CORSA), Ross, Pickaway, Highland & Fayette Joint Solid Waste Board, Community Corrections Planning Commission and numerous other boards and committees.
Representative Peterson and his wife Lisa have three children: Sarah, Hannah and Todd. Bob and Lisa actively volunteer in their community through church, school, 4-H, FFA, and other local organizations.