As one of Colorado’s biggest industries, agriculture contributes $40 billion to the state’s economy and provides nearly 173,000 jobs each and every year. With numbers like that, overseeing Colorado agriculture is one of the most important jobs in Colorado government.
Now, a CSU alumnus has been appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to manage Colorado’s diverse agricultural industry. Don Brown (’78, BS Vocational Agriculture, with honors) serves as Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture where he provides leadership to state agricultural divisions focused on animal health, conservation, consumer services, and the plant industry. The Department of Agriculture also oversees the Colorado State Fair, the inspection of livestock brands, and commodities markets.
Strong partner for 145 years
“We’re proud to congratulate Commissioner Brown as he takes on the leadership of Colorado’s Department of Agriculture,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “As the state’s land-grant university, CSU has been a strong partner with Colorado agriculture for 145 years, and we are committed to educating leaders – like Don Brown – who will help sustain a vital, productive agricultural sector for our state. His knowledge of Colorado and the needs of our state’s agricultural producers and communities will be a tremendous asset.”
Brown, a farmer from Yuma County, is a successful businessman who has managed extensive agricultural operations. He has also demonstrated leadership in the areas of conversation, energy development, and technology innovation across the agricultural industry.
Throughout his career, Brown has been recognized with numerous awards including the Bill Seward Memorial Award – Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Cattle Producer and the Yuma Soil Conservation District Outstanding Conservationist. He is connected to several industry organizations such as the National Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, National Corn Growers and the Colorado Corn Growers Association and has also served as president of the Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association. Brown is a former Colorado FFA State President and is a member of many community organizations.
Connection to Colorado and CSU
Brown’s family connection to Colorado dates back three generations, and the Brown family farm was homesteaded in 1911 and has been designated as a Centennial Farm.
“We are delighted that Commissioner Brown has such a strong connection to Colorado State University and such a long family history in the state of Colorado,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at CSU. “When we talk to our students about the impact that they will make beyond their time at CSU, we can now cite our Commissioner of Agriculture as one more example of the outstanding success of our graduates.”