Local leaders last week appointed longtime Agricultural Department employee Nate Reade as the Inyo and Mono county agricultural commissioner/sealer of weights and measures.
Reade has worked in the Agricultural and Weights and Measures Department for the past 12 years, most recently serving as deputy agricultural commissioner and deputy sealer of weights and measures.
“This is a big deal,” said First District Supervisor and Board Chair Linda Arcularius. “Our counties are very fortunate to already have someone in place who is eligible and extremely well-qualified to step into this important job. It’s not an easy position to fill, and Nate has spent years preparing at his own expense, for this opportunity.”
According to County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio, to be eligible to serve as ag commissioner and sealer, an individual must obtain 12 licenses issued by the state.
According to Carunchio, there are only 150 people in California who possess all of the required licenses required to serve as ag commissioner. “This number includes 55 commissioners currently holding office in other counties, and a number of retired commissioners whose licenses have not expired. It is definitely a seller’s market. Counties much larger than Inyo have spent years, and significantly more money, trying to recruit qualified individuals to the job.”
Reade said it took him between eight and nine years to complete all his certifications, many of which included written and oral exams, which are only held once or twice a year. He added that it takes most ag commissioners about 14 years to complete the necessary certifications.
The Ag Commissioner/Sealer’s Office handles a number of different tasks in Inyo County, including pesticide regulation and enforcement; inspection of fruits, vegetables, eggs and other commodities for quality and grade; regulation of local farmers’ markets; consumer protection through inspection of weighing and measuring devices and product packaging; invasive weed abatement; and administering the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement program.
“We are fortunate to have someone already working for our Agriculture Department who has both met the stringent California Department of Food and Agriculture licensing requirements, while also knowing our local agriculture concerns and issues,” Arcularius said. “This office and the important services it provides is a cornerstone of the free marketplace and our local economy. After 35 years, one of (outgoing ag commissioner) George Milovich’s lasting legacies will be that he prepared Nate to succeed in this critical office.”
Reade said he is prepared, and excited, to take up his new post with the county. “I’ve lived here most of my life and I understand how important agriculture is to the economy and culture of Inyo County,” he said. “It is an honor to be appointed and I will do the best job I can.”