Retired Agricultural Commissioner
Sealer of Weights and Measures
Robert G. (Bob) Atkins is a retired Agricultural Commissioner of the County of San Diego who rose through the ranks over a 38 year career (33 in Los Angeles and 5 in San Diego). Most of his career was spent in pest prevention programs; pest exclusion (plant quarantine), pest detection, pest eradication and biological control. San Diego and Los Angeles counties are two of the busiest agricultural product shipping and receiving counties in the country and as a result of that and their large populations, they have been the sites of many pest introductions and eradication/control programs.
Bob has been a county leader on several eradication programs, including many fruit flies, Gypsy Moth, Japanese beetle, light brown apple moth, Diaprepes root weevil and Asian citrus psyllid. He worked on the first sterile Medfly eradication program in 1975. He organized the Ash Whitefly bio-control effort in Los Angeles. He developed data for the Roger’s Commission to establish funding for High Risk Pest Exclusion throughout California at county destination points of inspection. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in entomology, a master’s degree in public administration and is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program.
“It was my honor to have had a career in the best invasive pest prevention system in the world. Established in 1881 and working closely with USDA, California and its unique county agricultural commissioner system have inspected arriving fruit and plant shipments to prevent the establishment of exotic insects, diseases, weeds, vertebrate and other invasive pests. Exclusion, early detection, eradication when and where possible and biological control as part of an integrated pest management system are the best strategies to keeping California’s native and cultivated environments free of pests which reduces the need for pesticides and other expensive cultivation practices. I am pleased to work on this committee to build upon this successful system.”
I have no personal financial stake in any actions that CISAC is likely to undertake, although I have a small fruit tree farm. I am also on the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Technical Review Committee for Plant and Health and Pest Challenges.