David R. Riggs, president of the California Strawberry Commission since 1980, has announced he is stepping down as chief executive of the commission.

Riggs will remain with the commission in a consulting capacity and will be available for special projects assigned by the commission.

“At this time and this point in my career, given current events, I would like greater freedom to pursue other interests,” Riggs said in his announcement. “There are a number of projects which are important to me, some associated with the strawberry industry and others outside. Specifically, I would like to explore opportunities for greater involvement in political and government affairs activities. This arrangement allows me to do that.

“A great deal has been accomplished by the commission during my 25 years of service. Activities for the commission have ranged from improvements in varieties and production, advances in marketing, crisis management, negotiations over pesticide regulations, and food safety. The challenges facing the strawberry industry are, in most cases, the challenges faced by all specialty crop farmers. I would like to take part in advancing the industry across all commodities,” he said.

In recent years, Riggs has been chairman of the Crop Protection Coalition, which has led the industry's effort to achieve a rational policy on the phase out of methyl bromide.