Brian R. Leahy was appointed director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) on Feb. 2, 2012, by Governor Brown.
Prior to joining DPR, Mr. Leahy served as assistant director for the Division of Land Resource Protection in the California Department of Conservation for five years. His focus was the potential for maximizing the benefits from open space management, including farmland management, to improve public health, transportation, biodiversity, climate change adaptation and natural resources.
He has held many leadership roles in agriculture and has a strong history of working collaboratively with environmental organizations, agricultural groups, trade associations, local government officials and other stakeholders.
Mr. Leahy served as executive director for the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts from 2004 to 2006 and executive director for the California Certified Organic Farmers from 2000 to 2004.
In 1980, he became one of California’s pioneering organic and biodiversity farmers when he took over operations of Cherokee Ranch Inc., a 900-acre rice farm in Butte County that converted to organic farming practices. He leased out the farm in 1992, but owned the property until 2003.
From 1992 to 1994, he operated the 800-acre organic corn, soybean, alfalfa and cattle Ackerlund farm in Fremont, Neb.
Mr. Leahy also assisted a small international fair trade company for sustainable agriculture, worked as a Legal Aid attorney and was the co-founder of an inner-city market garden educational nonprofit in Nebraska.
A native Californian, Mr. Leahy grew up in Ontario. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Neb.
A resident of Sacramento, Mr. Leahy is a member of the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment. He is an avid bicyclist who pedals to work and is an open-water swimmer who has crossed the Bay from Alcatraz to San Francisco numerous times.