Jensen was appointed Commissioner in 2011, replacing retired Commissioner Frank Carl. Previously, she served as Agricultural Commissioner for El Dorado and Alpine counties, and was a Deputy Agricultural Commissioner in Sacramento County. A Maryland native who was raised mostly in Texas, she began her career in government/agriculture as a seasonal insect trapper in San Joaquin County in 1978, after graduating from the University of California, Davis. Jensen is married and has two grown daughters who are teachers in North Carolina and Scotland. She enjoys riding horses and raising English Setter dogs.
Jensen has focused on improvements internal as well as external. Working through employee morale issues, stemming from budget cuts and layoffs during the recession, was critical. A lot of the department’s attention has focused on the movement of invasive pests that migrate into urban and suburban gardens and yards via many routes including nursery plants. These pests have the potential to damage parks and golf courses, as well as the increasingly suburban county’s surrounding grape, pear, rice and row-crop farms and nursery stock.
“It’s as much urban as rural,”
she explained her office’s workload, adding this is also true of the office’s pesticide enforcement. The biggest pesticide-related issues her department is seeing involve Japanese beetles, which are trying to get a foothold in the suburban neighborhoods of Fair Oaks and Carmichael, and Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs, which have invaded downtown Sacramento and are spreading outwards. Also, the department, which investigates illnesses that are possibly pesticide related, is seeing an uptick in the number of incidents involving anti-microbial products like sanitizers being used in commercial settings such as hospitals and restaurants as well as households. Other department activities include producing an annual crop and livestock report, inspecting seeds, monitoring agricultural burning, pest detection trapping, issuing phytosanitary certificates for the movement/trade of agricultural commodities and testing scales and meters throughout the county for accuracy.