media release

Colorado Department of Agriculture



October 13, 2011

Contact:    Christi Lightcap, (303) 239-4190,


New Leadership at the Helm of CDA’s Division of Brand Inspection


LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Chris Whitney has been named Brand Commissioner of CDA’s Division of Brand Inspection. 


“The Brands division is instrumental in protecting Colorado’s livestock industry,” said Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar.  “Chris has been a member of our agriculture community throughout his personal and professional life; I’m looking forward to seeing his knowledge and leadership skills at work.”


“As a child on my family ranch in Ridgway, I developed tremendous respect for the livestock industry and the men and women who make it the important economic and cultural force that it is,” said Whitney.  “I look forward to leading the Brand Inspection Division and to working with its excellent and dedicated personnel.”


“The Brand Commissioner will work with the Brand Board, state agencies, law enforcement, and the livestock industry to enforce the rules and regulations that have been developed to protect the livestock industry,” said Tracy Lungwitz, Brand Board Chairman.  “Chris has the experience to successfully tackle this important role.”


Whitney’s family ranched in Ridgway, Colo. while he was in high school.  A horseman and a member of the Pikes Peak Range Riders, he was appointed by the Governor to the State Board of Stock Inspection Commissioners in 2009 and also serves on the boards of the Colorado Horse Council, the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance, and the Pikes Peak Range Riders Foundation.  


During a 35-year law and business career, Whitney has practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Colorado Springs and has served as a senior executive, administrative officer and General Counsel to several public companies, including Harrah’s and Resorts International, Inc.  An experienced negotiator and Russian linguist, he was a Presidential Translator on the Washington-Moscow “Hot Line” and has conducted commercial negotiations in Russia and the former Soviet Union.  He received his law degree from Georgetown University in 1975 having previously received Masters and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Colorado.  He was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2007-2011editions of The Best Lawyers in America®.


Whitney served in the United States Air Force from 1968-1973 and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service in Vietnam and the Joint Service Commendation Medal for service in the National Military Command Center as a Presidential Translator.


Whitney replaces Rick Wahlert, who will be undertaking a high priority project to implement better utilization of information technology with in the division.


The Division of Brand Inspection’s primary responsibility is to protect the livestock industry from loss by theft or straying of livestock.  Today, the division administers more than 37,000 livestock brands to identify ownership of cattle, horses, mules, burros, sheep, elk and fallow deer. Livestock inspection is crucial to verify ownership in cases of strayed or stolen livestock, and animal health programs are strengthened by the ability to trace animals to their herd of origin. 


For more information on the Division of Brand Inspection, visit