(Ventura, Ca) By a unanimous vote on July 17, the Board of Supervisors concurred with the recommendation of County Executive Officer Mike Powers and appointed Edmund (Ed) Williams to a four-year term as Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner. The appointment follows a nationwide recruitment that produced nearly 40 qualified applicants.
“Agriculture is a critical component of our county’s economic vitality and having the right person in the position is crucial to keeping the industry strong,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “Ed will build strong relationships with our local agricultural community and balance necessary enforcement with support of the industry’s needs.”
Ventura County’s agricultural economy produces over $2 Billion in revenue according to numbers provided by the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. The number one crop is strawberries with nearly $655 Million in revenues according to 2016 numbers. Second is lemons with $265 Million in revenues.
By comparison, Los Angeles County’s total agricultural industry is valued at nearly $200 Million. However, Los Angeles County has a large focus on pest management and eradication.
According to the position announcement published by Ventura County when searching for the new candidate, “The Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is the leader in promoting and protecting agriculture in Ventura County. Working together with Ventura County stakeholders, the Agriculture Commissioner is responsible for building the necessary structures for long term success, identifying challenges as they form, and quickly developing appropriate actions to reach a positive outcome. Excellence of service and continued improvement are integral to the structure and operations of the Department.” The primary focus is to “Determines policies and establishes the organization and procedures for administering and enforcing the assigned provisions of the Agricultural Code and related local laws and regulations. ”
According to the announcement provided, “the office is responsible for pesticide use enforcement; pest detection, exclusion, eradication and management; fruit, vegetable, egg and nut standardization; nursery and seed inspection; and crop statistics. The office is currently focused on local farmworker issues, increasing the monitoring of pesticide use, particularly near schools and developments, and keeping Ventura County free from three new pests threatening both the agricultural industry and natural vegetation.”
The position listing included a salary range of $119,243 – $165,644. Williams received the maximum in his acceptance of the position.
Williams most recently worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner-Weights and Measures where he coordinated the work of 72 staff members. His duties there included preparing and managing a budget of $8.3 million, personnel, inspection and regulatory programs, administration of two laboratories and 11 regulatory programs.
He has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in botany from California State University, Stanislaus (located south of Modesto and east of San Jose, Ca) and he has maintained professional licenses for County Agricultural Commissioner and County Sealer of Weights and Measures since November 2013.
Williams, 57, is a resident of La Habra and will be relocating to Ventura County. His office is located in Camarillo with an additional location in Santa Paula.
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