Henry S. Gonzales was appointed as Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on March 14, 2018. The nine years prior, Mr. Gonzales served as agricultural commissioner for the County of Ventura. He started his career as a quarantine insect trapper for the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and later promoted to agricultural inspector/biologist, deputy agricultural commissioner, and chief deputy agricultural commissioner. Mr. Gonzales holds an Associate of Science degree in Agricultural Mechanics from Hartnell College, Salinas; a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from California State University, Fresno; and an Executive Master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.
In addition to his formal education and many years of experience working within the California agricultural commissioner’s system, Mr. Gonzales draws on his experience as a farmworker. As the child of a migrant farmworker family, he began working in Salinas Valley fields at the age of 13 thinning lettuce seedlings with the now banned short handled hoe called el cortito (the short one) in Spanish. During his time as a farmworker, he was a member of the United Farm Workers of America.
As Monterey County’s Agricultural Commissioner, Mr. Gonzales and his staff oversee the County’s $4.5 billion agricultural industry. In his role as agricultural commissioner, he is both promoter and regulator of agriculture. Monterey County is the 4th highest producing agricultural county in the state and the number one strawberry producing county. The challenges Mr. Gonzales has faced have given him the necessary background to lead the many complex issues faced by Monterey County’s agricultural industry. Mr. Gonzales has administered pest detection, exclusion, eradication, and management activities for exotic invasive species such as the Light Brown Apple Moth and the Asian citrus psyllid that impact farming. He also has led environmental justice and fumigant-pesticide issues. Mr. Gonzales recognizes the value of sitting down with the members of the agricultural industry, environmentalists, labor advocates, and others to address issues of shared interest. His experience engaging in outreach activities has resulted in greater communication and understanding of the needs of agriculture and the local community.
Mr. Gonzales is a member of the California Agricultural Commissioner’s and Sealer’s Association (CACASA). As a member of CACASA, he has served on the Pesticide Regulatory Affairs, Finance, Mill Distribution, Pest Prevention, and Nursery, Seed and Apiary Committees. He also represents CACASA on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Worker Safety Regulation Work Group. Additionally, he is a member of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis. He has served on the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program Advisory Committee. He serves on the Monterey County Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights Advisory Commission. And also serves on the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study Community Advisory Board.