As a young boy living in Stanislaus County, Gary Caseri grew familiar with the vast agricultural region, eventually shaping a 36 year career path dedicated to helping growers, animals, and the environment throughout three California counties.
On Friday, Caseri retired from his position as Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures for Stanislaus County, but still intends to contribute his expertise in future endeavors for the State of California.
Caseri was born in Turlock before moving to Newman, where he attended Orestimba High School, graduating in 1971. Shortly after obtaining an Associate’s Degree from Modesto Junior College in 1973, Caseri attended California State Universities at Fresno, Chico, and Stanislaus. In 1976, Caseri graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant Science from Fresno State.
His career began when he obtained a job in Merced County in 1978 as an agricultural biologist, eventually working his way up to his position as the Deputy Agricultural Commissioner in 1987. His duties included managing the Pesticide Use Enforcement Program.
It wasn’t until 1989 that Caseri became the Assistant Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Merced County before switching to the position of the Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures for Tuolumne County in 2001.
“My nature has always been to try to help and assist growers,” said Caseri. “I like to work closely with them and help growers through the strict regulatory climate. I always felt my biggest accomplishment was to help them through the process and cut through the red tape.”
Despite upholding his seat as commissioner, Caseri also worked as the Air Pollution Control Officer and Director of Animal Control and took on many daunting tasks and responsibilities that affected growth and renewal.
After serving 30 years for other counties, Caseri returned on March 31, 2008 to Stanislaus, and was appointed the Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures. Monica Nino outlined his expertise and presented his recognition to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning.
“He brought strength with budget issues, along with detailed insect knowledge, including pesticides, laws, and regulations,” said Chief Executive Officer Monica Nino. “He is known to be fair-minded and has forged creative ways to bring about compliance. Gary has reached out to industries to help make laws and regulations easier to understand and accessible.”
Caseri opened up a world of opportunities for local growers by helping them understand pesticide regulations by creating a quick reference guide. He also received recognition as only the second ag commissioner to help maintenance gardeners attain training in English and Spanish, and obtain assistance in licensing.
Caseri also started the first grower led Spray Safe Workshop, which helped promote communication in applying chemicals safely.
Supervisor Vito Chiesa said that the ideas Caseri implemented promoted fairness in the industry.
“You’ve always been fair,” Chiesa said to Caseri on Tuesday. “And that is why you were loved in Merced, you were loved in Tuolumne, and that is why you are going to retire here being loved by the Board.”
In recognition of his earnestness, Caseri was awarded a large clock to commemorate his work. Though Caseri is looking forward to attending a long list of “to dos,” including fostering a closer relationship with his newest granddaughter, he said that he will continue to actively participate in the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition and the State-wide Shell Egg Advisory Committee.