ODNR announces new chief of the Division of Soil and Water

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer announced that Mike Bailey has been named chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources. Bailey has served as deputy chief of the division since 2012.

“His agricultural background and experience in the field of soil and water made Mike the ideal candidate for this job,” Zehringer said. “Behind his leadership, I anticipate the division will make great strides in furthering ODNR’s efforts to improve the health of Ohio’s waters and lands.”

Karl Gebhardt, former chief of the division, has been serving as division chief and deputy director. He will continue to serve in his role as deputy director of the department.

As chief of the division, Mike will be responsible for day-to-day operations, including issues related to agricultural nutrients, soil and water conservation districts, watershed programs, water resource issues and dam safety.

Previously, Bailey worked at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) for eight years in various capacities. He served as executive director of the Office of Farmland Preservation, where he oversaw the administration of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, the Ohio Agricultural Easement Donation Program and the Ohio Agricultural Security Area Program.

Most recently at ODA, Bailey served as the executive director of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. His role involved coordinating all of the legal, legislative, communications and administrative functions in support of the board’s efforts to lead the nation in creating sound and comprehensive standards of care for livestock.

Bailey earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from The Ohio State University. As a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Bailey currently serves as an intelligence officer in the United States Army Reserve. He resides with his wife and family on their third-generation farm in Union County.

The ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources provides leadership and services that enable Ohioans to conserve, protect and enhance soil, water and land resources.


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