At any gas station in the county, glance over at the pump and find the official-looking government seal. Look closely enough and you’ll see the name of a 21-year Sacramento County employee who is retiring this week.
Frank Carl is the county’s Agriculture Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures. , is responsible for making sure one gallon of fuel at a gas station actually measures out as one gallon. He and his two dozen or so staff members also scour the county looking for invasive pests before they can wreak havoc on crops or damage the ability of local farmers to export them.
“I’ve been doing it for 38 years,” Carl said by phone. “It was just time [to retire].”
Carl, who previously worked for agriculture commissioners in Yuba, Merced and Yolo Counties, said Sacramento County’s budget woes have forced him to lay off about a third of his employees, pushing him closer to retirement.
“The last three years have been difficult with the budget,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of the fun out of the job.”
He plans to move near Bend, Ore., to be closer to his grandkids, but he’ll still be an agriculture commissioner at heart. He said he’ll probably end up volunteering some time toward fighting invasive weeds in that area.
“We’ve got invasive weeds here that are taking over vast amounts of acreage,” he said. “[They have the] same problem in Oregon.”
One of Carl’s proudest accomplishments as Sacramento County Agriculture Commissioner is winning a nearly decade-long battle against the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter, an insect that often carries a crop-killing disease. It appeared in Rancho Cordova and Foothill Farms in the early 2000s, he said.
Carl’s office also checks the accuracy of prices in stores across the county, ensuring shelf prices are the same as those charged at the register.
Agriculture chief almost chose a different career path
Carl has been interested in agriculture, gardening and livestock since he was a child, but when he was a college student in Chico, he dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.
“I goofed off too much in school,” he said. “I didn’t pull the grades necessary to get into vet school.”
After graduating, Carl searched for a career he was qualified for and would be interested in, and stumbled upon a field he would work in for nearly four decades.
Carl’s last day with the county is Saturday.