New Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures

Written By: Andrew Smith, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures
Published: April 1, 2020

It is with excitement, happiness, and humility that I get to address the Sonoma County Farm Bureau as the county’s new Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures. I would first like to tell you all how much our Department values our relationship with the Farm Bureau for our shared interest in promoting and protecting agriculture and ensuring the safety and well-being of our families, employees, and environment in which our county’s agricultural operations are situated. This cannot be understated. Secondly, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for my personal relationship with the Farm Bureau,  for all of the support I have received throughout my career, and for the outpouring of support for me as I competed for this new position. I am extremely grateful for this and I am committed to the long term sustainability of agriculture here in Sonoma County, my home and native land. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my family as I would not be here without their love and support. 

As most of you know, I grew up here in Sonoma County. I attended Piner and Olivet Elementary schools, Comstock Junior High, and Piner High School. After high school, I attended the Santa Rosa Junior College and worked part-time at Empire Nursery while I took general education coursework and every agriculture class I could as an elective or core course for transfer. It was in my pest management class at the JC that I found out about careers in regulation and the role of the Agricultural Commissioner in promoting and protecting agriculture. I later transferred to the University of British Columbia to complete a degree in Agroecology and in my first summer back from school,  found a job in the Press Democrat for an Extra-Help Agricultural Program Assistant position with the Department. My role was as an insect trapper placing and servicing fruit fly traps in urban areas throughout the county. I loved the work and began to think about the Department as a place where I could grow and a potential career for me after college. I continued with school and when I was ready to graduate, I began the search for a job. I think it was chance, or maybe destiny, that the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures had a full-time position open for an Agricultural Biologist. I initially thought it would be little more than an exercise in interviewing and they would likely find someone with far more experience than I, but that wasn’t the case. Apparently, they liked me enough to want to give me a job! I feel so fortunate for having been given that opportunity. Each and every one of the people I have worked with in the past in the Department and all those I work with now has helped me to get here where I am now and I want to thank them all for their patience, coaching, mentorship, and friendship. It takes a village! When I started full time with the Department, I made a career goal for myself: to become the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures at some point in my career. I never thought that it would be now! My career goal and dream are being realized and I now have a new goal: to be the best Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer I can possibly be through deliberate and effortful practice in the position and  I plan to do so while daring greatly.

I feel that as the new Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer it is important to acknowledge why we are here. We at the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures are here to help. Yes, we are primarily a regulatory agency and our day-to-day work is meant to prevent the introduction and spread of injurious insect pests, weeds and diseases, and to gain compliance with pesticide laws and regulations, as well as to maintain equity in the marketplace through our weights and measures work.  But we also strive to help agricultural and non-agricultural pest control practitioners find solutions to their compliance issues and we pride ourselves on being able to translate ambiguous regulatory text into applicable practices for use in the field. We have an over-arching enforcement philosophy of compliance through education, and we are here to answer any questions you have about your business’s compliance.

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