Retirement Reception Honors Ag Commissioners Les and Marilyn Wright

Les and Marilyn Wright To Retire and Relocate to Nebraska

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Nearly 100 people gathered at the Clovis Rodeo Hall to honor Les and Marilyn Wright, who have served faithfully as Ag Commissioners in Fresno and Tulare Counties, respectively. These two counties, along with Kern County, have consistently been among the nation’s top three agricultural counties.

Les Wright, who served as Fresno Ag Commissioner since August 2013, will officially retire in late January. Marilyn Wright (née Kinoshita), who served as Tulare Ag Commissioner since December 2009, will officially retire in late March.

Les and Marilyn Wright, soon to retire as Ag Commissioners

Together, they will relocate to the beautifully mountainous Sioux County, in the far northeastern part of Nebraska, where the population density is one person per square mile. This represents a return to Marilyn’s home state, where she grew up on a farm and studied agronomy at the University of Nebraska and Arkansas State University.

Highlights of Marilyn’s career include implementing an aggressive county-wide walnut theft ordinance and taking in more than 113,000 pounds of outdated pesticide products from Tulare County growers during her department’s Legacy Pesticide Disposal Event in 2018.

Les Wright was raised on a cattle ranch in northern California. Instantly, upon becoming Ag Commissioner Fresno County, he helped navigate county farmers through one of the worst droughts in state history.

Both Ag Commissioners have worked diligently to control populations of Asian Citrus Psyllids, which vector the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease in citrus. To date, no positive HLB trees in commercial citrus have been detected in the Valley’s billion-dollar citrus industry.

“It’s been a fun ride on most days over the years,” said Marilyn. “Some nights my brain was still working at 2 am, and I will not miss those days. I will also not miss the anti-pesticide crowd.”

“Yes it has been one heck of a ride,” said Les. “I’m grateful for the friends and colleagues that believed and fought the way we did for the ag industry in Fresno County. I have been fortunate these last few years, because my wife, Marilyn, was Ag Commissioner for Tulare County. We were able to travel to Washington D.C. and Sacramento together. It has been fun,” Les said

In honor of Les and Marilyn Wright’s service, funds are being raised to support the Fresno State Rodeo Team. Rodeoing is one of Les’ passions.

Rodeo has a long history at Fresno State; it is the University’s oldest club sport, with a rodeo held every year since 1949. A recent generous family foundation with local ties made a $250,000 gift to establish an endowment for the Fresno State Bulldoggers Rodeo Team and committed to match an additional $500,000 if that amount is raised by May 2019. If you are interested in supporting the team in honor of les and Marilyn Wright, please contact the Ag One Foundation at 559-278-4266 or visit www.fresnostate.edu/jcast/agonefoundation.

 

 

2017 Tulare County Crop Report Tops $7 Billion

Tulare Crop Report Shows 10 Percent Growth in Single Year

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Big numbers announced today from Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Wright on the 2017 crop year.

“Our value is 10.5 percent up from last year, at 7,039,929,000. So, that’s 669 million more than the previous year,” Wright said.

Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Ag Commissioner
Marilyn Wright, Tulare County Ag Commissioner

And, of course, more water in the system probably helped, as it did in Fresno County, which announced $7.028 billion in its 2017 Crop Report, released earlier this month.

The dairy industry, which is prominent in Tulare County, came in number one again, representing 25 percent of the total value.

“Milk prices were stronger in early 2017, but they went down later in the year. And they continue to go down, but still it was a big part of the Tulare County ag receipts in 2017,” Wright said.

Following dairy were grape products—including juice grapes, raisins, and table grapes. Table grapes had a stellar year.

Navel and Valencia oranges were next. Cattle and calves ranked fourth, down from category number three in 2016, because cattle prices were off last year.

Tangerines, also known as mandarins, were number five, followed by almonds, cling peaches, and freestone peaches.

Lemons, were ninth on the crop list.

We only have just over 10,000 acres of lemons in the County, Wright said.

Wright said the value of this year’s crop report, $7.39 billion, is the third highest value Tulare County has ever reported.