media release

Colorado Department of Agriculture



February 24, 2012


Christi Lightcap, CDA Communications Director,, (303) 239-4190

Angie Cue, CALP Executive Director,, (303) 547-5963


Revitalized Program Will Help Develop Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders

Colorado Department of Agriculture Invests in the Future of Agriculture


LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A newly formed organization, Colorado Ag Leadership Program (CALP), is dedicated to enhancing leadership capabilities of those committed to the future of Colorado’s agriculture and rural communities. 


CALP is a hands-on program that will recruit enthusiastic Coloradoans involved in agriculture, agribusiness, rural industries, rural communities or natural resource management.  The two-year program will provide a unique experience that allows the participants to gain valuable knowledge in a variety of areas including communications, technology, social issues, resource management, and government policy.


The announcement introducing CALP was made during the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture on February 23, 2012 in Denver, by Representative Jerry Sonnenberg, Chairman, Colorado House Ag Committee and Chairman, CALP Board of Directors; Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, Vice Chairman of CALP Executive Board; and Dr. Lee Sommers, associate dean for research in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University and CALP Executive Board member.


“Agriculture is the cornerstone of this state and the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program will help ensure its continued success; we must provide tools to develop leaders that will help shape the future of agriculture in Colorado,” said Sonnenberg.


A similar venture, called the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership program, was based at Colorado State University, but personnel changes and reductions in state higher-education funding resulted in discontinuance of that program.


“We are pleased that a program to support agricultural and rural leadership is reigniting in Colorado, and that a new foundation has been established to develop the program and the leadership abilities of its participants,” said Sommers.  “Colorado State will support the newly invigorated leadership program with curricular input, and by offering to host portions of the programs.”


The Colorado Department of Agriculture has donated $100,000 to help fund the CALP program through its initial stages.


“I took part in the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership program as a young man and I continue to value those lessons today.  I believe the rebirth of the program as the Colorado Ag Leadership program will help develop the leadership capabilities of tomorrow’s ag leaders,” said Salazar.  “It is essential to, not only the ag community, but to all who rely of the food system that we develop leaders who understand agriculture and the policies that guide us.  The CALP is truly an investment that will affect every person in this state.”


CALP will utilize the best of its own alumni combined with outstanding speakers from throughout the state, business world and public arena to create and present a premier leadership development program centered on travel/study experiences, group discussions and individual project application of skills learned.


Applications are currently being taken for the first round of participants.  For more information on CALP and an application, visit