Edward Avalos is President Obama’s pick for U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Filling the position held by Bruce Knight in the Bush administration, Avalos oversees the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service — departments both of critical importance to specialty crop growers and marketers.

Avalos has a career that spans more than three decades in agricultural marketing, including five years with the Texas Department of Agriculture and 29 years at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

Avalos was raised on a farm in southern New Mexico that produced chili peppers, pecans, onions, alfalfa, cotton and wheat.

Tom O’Brien, Washington, D.C.-based representative for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, called the selection a good pick.

“He’s got a marketing background and has worked closely with AMS over the years,” he said.

Avalos is credited with establishing the New Mexico Specialty Crops Program, a matching funds program for value-added agriculture. He also has organized trade missions to Mexico, Japan, China, Canada and Latin America.

Inman is a retired agricultural engineer with the University of California Cooperative Extension Service. He retired in 1993 and started working for the UC  here in Salinas in the 1960s.