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Fond Farewell

Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County’s retiring Ag Commissioner received a bounty of praise by her peers today.

Vicki Helmar has held a lengthy title of Tuolumne County’s Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures/Air Pollution Control Officer/Animal Control Director for the past seven years.  At today’s Supervisors meeting, Helmar was recognized for her 39 years in the Ag industry, her leadership skills, level-headed thinking, and as one peer put it, “not being afraid to take on challenges and make it look easy.”

Teary eyed and voice shaking, Helmar thanked the board for its support saying, “You’ve helped make my job easier.  You’ve always listened to me, even though we haven’t always agreed.  I appreciate the support you have given not only me and my department and the Ag community we have here…they have made my job here very filling and rewarding.”

Helmar praised her staff saying she would not have been able to accomplish what she did without them.  The board documented and listed these highlights of Helmar’s seven years as the head of the county’s agriculture department:

  • Resolving issues that delayed the conversion of Williamson Act contracts and processing a large backlog of renewals.
  • Revised the format and content of the Tuolumne County Crop Report.
  • Updated existing and drafted new documents impacting agriculture in Tuolumne County, such as: the Ag Element of the General Plan, Agricultural zoning ordinances, Right to Farm Ordinance, farm labor housing criteria and an Agritourism Policy.
  • Evaluated and modified all major guidelines and procedures for the Agricultural Commissioner and Weights & Measures divisions of her office.
  • Developed and implemented programs targeted at the eradication of specific invasive noxious weeds and established a GIS data base and mapping system for invasive weed species in Tuolumne County.
  • Exercised fairness, resolve and common sense in her regulatory role that well served both the residents and business community of the County.
  • Effectively guided her department through The Great Recession, the most difficult financial period of our lifetimes.
  • Served as an effective advocate for the agricultural community through several years of drought conditions and the 2013 RIM Fire.  Special note should be made that her service to the local agricultural community during the RIM Fire occurred in the midst of her own home in Mariposa County being placed under evacuation order.

Helmar plans for retirement include farming her property in Mariposa County.