August 2, 2013

Wright Is New Fresno County 
Ag Commissioner

New Fresno County Ag Commissioner,
Les Wright.
Les Wright was appointed to serve as the agricultural commissioner for Fresno County, the top agricultural county in the nation.  He was formally appointed by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors this morning. 

Wright has been serving as interim Ag Commissioner ever since former Ag Commissioner Carol Hafner retired last year. He said he looks forward to strengthening his relationship with Fresno County farmers and ranchers.

In the summer of 1976, Wright began his first government job, working for a border inspection station in northern California. 

During this time, he was attending a junior college and working on farms in Modoc County.  “You had to become a jack of all trades of living in northern California,” said Wright. He also worked in construction, drove trucks and was a ranch hand in the area.  

“At one point along the way, I took one of the state license tests,” said Wright.  He eventually decided to work for the government full-time, mostly to receive a steady paycheck and insurance for his family. 

From there, he moved up the ranks, eventually becoming agricultural commissioner in Modoc County.  “I learned what was necessary to accomplish what needed to be done and done right,” said Wright.

In 1999, Wright moved to Kings County, and worked as a deputy agricultural commissioner.  In 2010, Wright joined the team in Fresno County, and became chief deputy.

Although he has always favored livestock, he has done almost every job in the business, from inspecting bee hives to pesticide applications, said Wright.  Even before moving to the Central Valley, he had some familiarity with row crops where he grew up.  Throughout the years, he has gained a well-rounded experience.  

The California agricultural commissioner system is necessary because of the state’s diversity.  “There are big differences throughout the state in the type of agriculture and issues facing growers,” said Wright.

“I wear a lot of different hats throughout the day,” said Wright, who is constantly connected to technology.  On a daily basis, he will receive hundreds of emails and oversee 82 full time employees working in the diverse agriculture programs and deal with local regulatory issues. A Commissioner has dozens of programs and many issues to deal with, from Asian Citrus Psyllid to an incorrectly computing gas pump.

“Agriculture has always been my love,” said Wright.  “I’ve always been involved in agriculture and don’t see myself doing anything else.”