Les Wright takes over as Fresno County Ag Commissioner

July 31, 2013 6:48:40 AM PDT
Fresno County's number-one industry is now being guided by a new Agriculture Commissioner.

Fresno County is home to over 350 crops -- everything from berries to almonds. The production value of grapes alone is worth over a billion dollars. It's Les Wright's job to keep the produce moving to domestic and foreign markets.

Next week Wright drops the "Interim" Ag Commissioner title. Three years ago he came from Kings County to become Fresno County's chief deputy.

"You know I spent a lot of years getting ready for this. I'm looking forward to working with the producers in Fresno County," said Les Wright, Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner.

Fresno has long been the country's top ag producing county, with Tulare and Kern counties close behind. Staying number one will be a challenge. "Gonna be tough year without water. If we don't have a good winter we're going to see a real reduction in our crop values especially on the westside."

Right now wright is looking at ways to keep the destructive Asian citrus psyllid out of Fresno County citrus orchards. But plenty of other pests like the European grapevine moth keep the department busy. "That is why we exist. We're here to protect and promote the ag industry and we protect that through regulation of movement of commodities in and out of the state."

Wright's name will replace that of his predecessor Carol Hafner on the Fresno County seal at gas stations. The ag commissioner also serves as county sealer. "In the weights and measures realm I want to maintain a confidence in market place so that the consumer knows in the back of their mind when they're pumping gas that they're getting a gallon of gas or a pound of hamburger."


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