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John Salazar, Commissioner

Date appointed: 1/5/11

Senate Committee hearing date: 1/26/11

Senate Committee hearing vote: Passed Committee vote - Unanimously favorable recommendation

Senate vote date: February 4, 2011

Senate vote: Confirmed - 34-0-1

Salary: $146,040


“A thriving agriculture sector is critical to Colorado’s economic recovery,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “Farmers and ranchers are also leading the way as business innovators. Their prosperity helps build a foundation for all of Colorado. And no one has been a more passionate champion for agriculture and rural communities than John Salazar. We are fortunate to have his leadership at the helm of the Department of Agriculture.”


As the Commissioner of Agriculture, John Salazar works to strengthen and advance Colorado’s agriculture industry; promote a safe, high-quality and sustainable food supply; and protect consumers, the environment and natural resources. He oversees the Department of Agriculture’s 300 employees, an annual budget of nearly $40 million and seven divisions: Animal Industry; Brand Inspection; Colorado State Fair; Conservation, Inspection and Consumer Services; Markets; and Plant Industry.


Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed Salazar as Commissioner of Agriculture in 2011. Under his leadership, Colorado’s agricultural exports have increased from just over $1 billion in 2009 to more than $1.8 billion in 2011. Salazar has also worked to restore consumer confidence in the safety of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe and has revitalized the Colorado Ag Leadership Program to strengthen the state’s rural communities.


Salazar served three terms representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. His advocacy in Congress earned him recognition for outstanding service by the American Farm Bureau and the Golden Triangle Award from the National Farmers Union. Salazar played a key role in the passing of the historic farm bill of 2008 and authored the rural broadband and specialty crop provisions.


Salazar served on the Rio Grande Water Conservation District; the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program board; and the Colorado Agricultural Commission; and elected as a state representative before serving in Congress. He has also been a member of the Farm Credit Services Board of Directors; the Seed Export Committee with the Colorado Certified Seed Growers; and was the founder of the Saint Joseph Youth Athletic Program.


The Salazar family celebrates 14 generations of farming. Salazar was raised on a San Luis Valley farm, where he and his five siblings shared a bedroom and had no electricity or running water. Salazar continues to call the San Luis Valley home. He works on the family farm where they have farmed and ranched the same for seven generations.


Salazar earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Adams State College after serving three years in the U.S. Army.


About the Department of Agriculture:

The Department serves the people of Colorado through the following Divisions: Animal Industry Division, Brands Division, Colorado State Fair, Commissioner’s Office, Conservation Services Division, Inspection & Consumer Services Division, Markets Division, and Plant Industry Division.