County names Runyon new agricultural commissioner
Merced County is getting a new agricultural commissioner.
Sean S. Runyon will serve in the position starting Jan. 2, receiving an annual salary of $153,732. He has worked under outgoing commissioner David Robinson since 2016, and has been with the County in the office of the agricultural commissioner since 2011.
“We’re really pleased with the outcome of our recruitment,” said County Executive Officer Raul Lomeli Mendez. “Succession planning at its best. This is the way it’s supposed to work out.”
The Agricultural Commissioner enforces state food and agricultural regulations, and is headquartered in Merced with a satellite office in Los Banos. The office employs around 30 people. Agriculture is the county’s top money maker, valued at almost $4 billion every year.
Robinson, who has been with the county for over 19 years, originally came from Madera County where he worked for 14 years.
“Merced took me in as an assistant ag commissioner, and I want to say thank you to the board and previous boards for the support they gave to me personally,” Robinson said.
He talked about the need to train a successor for the position. Runyon has worked closely with Robinson over the past six years.
“The legacy part of the job is the most important to us,” said Supervisor Lloyd Pareira. “Thank you for mentoring [Runyon].”
“I couldn’t have gotten to this point without him. He’s been an incredible mentor,” said Runyon, referring to Robinson. “I really got to watch him work and it’s been a huge benefit to my development.”
“[Agriculture] is such an important, vital part of our economy,” Runyon said. “Over the last couple of years it’s really become evident how important a safe, sustainable food supply is to the world. With everything that’s going on nowadays with Ukraine and pandemics, hopefully when people look at their groceries they realize all the hard work it takes to bring that food to the table.”
Robinson is retiring at the end of December.