Huntsinger was born in Newhall, Los Angeles County. He moved to Grass Valley, Nevada County, with his family in 1980. He was homeschooled but, through a family connection, also lined up work at an organic peach orchard, helping foster his future interest in agriculture. He attended Sierra College in Rocklin, where he earned associate’s degrees in general studies and liberal arts, and then transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fruit science in 2000. At that point, he said, he figured he’d go into growing grapes on the Central Coast.
However, his parents were taking a one-year teaching sabbatical to Cameroon, Africa. He was recruited to house-sit and, while back home, took a job as a seasonal pest trapper at the Placer County CAC’s office. At the time, he recalled, the CAC was gearing up to begin its glassy winged sharpshooter detection and exclusion program. Glassy wing sharpshooters are an insect pest that can carry Pierce’s disease, a serious threat to California’s grape industry. The following year, he was hired on as an agricultural inspector. His primary assignment was pesticide use enforcement.
In 2011, he was appointed as the Agricultural Commissioner by the county Board of Supervisors, replacing retiring commissioner Christine Turner.