By Regina Pozzi
Each year at their Annual Dinner, Marin County Farm Bureau recognizes outstanding individuals in our community who have positively impacted Marin County agriculture. This year, Marin County Farm Bureau is proud to recognize retired Supervisor Katherine Sears of Sausalito and past Ag Commissioner Stacy Carlsen of Novato.
Stacy Carlsen is the retired Ag Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures for the County of Marin. Carlsen dedicated his career to serving agriculture. Carlsen served in Marin for 25 years, and previously served in Stanislaus and Yuba-Sutter County Agriculture Departments.
“Things evolved in Marin during my time,” said Carlsen. He oversaw much of the Organic revolution and worked with the dairy industry on certification. There was value in the local agriculture department be infused in the organic system, because the Ag Commissioner’s office also oversees pesticides, direct marketing, and farmers markets.
Under Carlsen’s leadership, Marin County was the first local government accredited as an organic certifier as Marin Organic Certified Agriculture (MOCA), giving an opportunity for Marin’s organic industry to find their niches, brand their commodities, and help in the market place. Carlsen said, “If that was the outcome, it was worth the trouble.” Carlsen oversaw all agriculture ordinances and programs crafted in Marin County since 1995, including predator control, sudden oak death, pest prevention, pesticide enforcement, and others.
During his career, Carlsen also served two terms as a committee chair of the National Conference of Weights and Measures. In 2013-2014, Carlsen also served as the president of the California Agriculture Commissioners Association, representing 54 commissioners across 58 counties when interacting with Secretary Karen Ross, the USDA, the Director of Pesticide Regulation, and the Director of the Division of Weights and Measures.
Carlsen finished his career as the Senior Ag Commissioner in California when he retired, serving 30+ years as an Agriculture Commissioner and 43 years in a Department of Agriculture under 9 different California Secretaries of Agriculture.
Originally from Newman, California, Carlsen attended Cal State Stanislaus where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Entomology. He started out as an intern with CDFA and then accepted a full time position as an entomologist in Porterville. Just over a year later, Stanislaus Ag Department recruited him as an inspector, then deputy, and then assistant commissioner.
In true agriculture fashion, Carlsen said, “he would to stay connected to agriculture, organics, pesticides or entomology, perhaps in an advisory role” when asked about a second career. He said, every day his whole career, he looked at or read about an insect. He would like to keep that going, back to his roots of interest in entomology. Carlsen truly liked what he did, evidenced by his continued interest in the industry.