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Section 901.23 | Farmland preservation advisory board.

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(A) There is hereby created the farmland preservation advisory board consisting of twelve voting members appointed by the director of agriculture as follows:

(1) One member who is a county commissioner or a representative of a statewide organization that represents county commissioners;

(2) One member who is a township trustee or a representative of a statewide organization that represents township trustees;

(3) One representative of the Ohio state university;

(4) One representative of a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland;

(5) One representative each of development, environmental, planning, and soil and water conservation interests;

(6) One farmer from each of the state's four quadrants.

Terms of office shall be staggered and shall be for three years, with each term ending on the same day of the same month as did the term that it succeeds. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed, except that the term of any member who is a county commissioner or township trustee shall end when the member ceases to serve as a county commissioner or township trustee.

Members may be reappointed. Vacancies shall be filled in the manner provided for original appointments. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration date of the term for which the member was appointed shall serve for the remainder of that term. A member shall continue to serve subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the director.

The executive director of the office of farmland preservation in the department of agriculture or another employee of the department who is designated by the director shall serve as the nonvoting chairperson of the board. The director annually shall designate one member of the board to serve as its vice-chairperson. The board may adopt bylaws governing its operation and shall meet at a time when the director, or the director's designee, considers it appropriate in order for the board to provide advice as required under division (B) of this section.

(B) The board shall provide advice to the director regarding all of the following:

(1) The design and implementation of an agricultural easement purchase program;

(2) The selection of applications that will be awarded matching grants under division (D) of section 901.22 of the Revised Code for the purchase of agricultural easements;

(3) The design and implementation of any other statewide farmland protection measures that the director considers appropriate.

(C) Serving as a member of the board does not constitute holding a public office or position of employment under the laws of this state and does not constitute grounds for removal of public officers or employees from their offices or positions of employment.

(D) A board member shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of duties as a board member.

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