Commissioner Salazar Bio


John Salazar

John Salazar
Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

Governor John Hickenlooper appointed John Salazar as Commissioner of Agriculture in 2011.

As Commissioner, John has focused on a number of issues that are vital to the success of Colorado agriculture:

  • Exports—Exports have been a bright spot for Colorado’s economy, increasing from just over $1 billion in 2009 to more than $1.8 billion in 2011.
  • Rocky Ford Cantaloupe—Through an aggressive communications and promotion effort, our cantaloupe industry has largely restored consumer confidence in the safety of the sweet and juicy melons for which Rocky Ford has attained national acclaim.
  • Colorado Ag Leadership Program—This revitalized program develops and enhances the leadership capabilities of diverse men and women committed to the future of Colorado’s agricultural and rural communities.

Association participation and membership includes NASDA Immigration Task Force, 2012 WUSATA president, and 2011 WASDA president.

Salazar served three terms representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and the Transportation Committee. Salazar’s advocacy in Congress earned him recognition for outstanding service by the American Farm Bureau and the Golden Triangle Award from the National Farmers Union.

He played a key role in passing the historic farm bill of 2008 and authored the rural broadband and specialty crop provisions. With a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee in his third term, Salazar worked on national energy issues, jobs creation and the economy. Before his time in Congress, Salazar served in the Colorado General Assembly for two years.

Salazar served on the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program board, and the Colorado Agricultural Commission before being elected as a state Representative in 2002. 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; John 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. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Adams State College after serving three years in the U.S. Army.

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.