The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has approved the appointment of Jose Chang as the new Agriculture Commissioner/Director of Weights & Measures. His first day will be Jan. 23, 2023. Chang will assume the duties from Cathy Fisher, who is retiring after 12 years as Commissioner.
Chang has worked in agriculture/weights and measures since 2006 for the County of Napa and most recently the County of Monterey. He is a proven leader serving as the President of the California Association of Standards and Agricultural Professional in 2018-2019 and in his role as Assistant Agriculture Commissioner/Sealer for the County of Monterey handling a $13 million budget and 80 staff members.
Growing up in an agricultural family, Chang has always been passionate about agriculture. He studied agriculture at UC Davis and has spent his career working to protect and promote agriculture in the California Agricultural Commissioner System.
“The experience, skill set and education I have gathered over the past 18 years have led me to this position. I have worked in Napa where wine grapes are the primary crop and as you know, wine grapes are one of the top agricultural commodities here,” said Chang. “In addition, working in Monterey County I acquired knowledge and experience of the vegetable and fruit crops grown there, ranging from strawberries to broccoli, which have tremendous economic value in Santa Barbara County.”
“Mr. Chang is a wonderful addition to the County of Santa Barbara. Agriculture is a vital pillar in the economic structure of our County and with Jose’s background in other California counties that focus on agriculture and his familiarity with our top crops, he has a good understanding of just how important the work he will be doing is for our whole community,” said Board Chair and Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.
The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office enforces laws and regulations in our agricultural weights & measures programs. The department has a budget of more than $7 million and has 37 full-time employees. Pesticide use enforcement and pest prevention are the main components of the agriculture budget program. These programs are designed to ensure the safe and legal use of pesticides and to prevent the introduction of harmful exotic pests. The weights & measures program protects businesses and consumers by ensuring fairness in the marketplace. The department also provides education and outreach to the agricultural industry, businesses, and the public on regulatory compliance, integrated pest management, and agricultural pests.
Hartmann added, “I would like to recognize Cathy Fisher for her work and leadership as the Agricultural Commissioner for the past 12 years. She has worked to protect agriculture, natural resources and the quality of life in Santa Barbara County. She had been a wonderful leader working to improve processes and helping our agricultural community thrive while protecting the consumer.”
Chang received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, in Plant Biology. He is bilingual in English and Spanish. He holds his California Department of Food and Agriculture license for Agricultural Commissioner, Sealer, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner and Deputy Sealer.
For information about the Agriculture/Weights and Measures Department, go to https://www.countyofsb.org/266/Agricultural-Commissioner.