The Cornerstone

Commissioner Don Brown believes farmers and ranchers are the cornerstone of our great state and country.

InfographicAs the Commissioner of Agriculture, I have dedicated my life to my family, my ranch, and my community. I can tell you that I truly believe our farmers and ranchers are the cornerstone of our great state and country. Without them, we would not enjoy the abundant food we have available to us, one of the lowest food costs in the world, and national food security because of our ability to provide enough food to feed our people.
As farmers and ranchers, we are more than the people on a tractor or feeding livestock. We are business men and women, who must balance the checkbook, manage workers, study state and federal regulations, and provide quality care to livestock so they remain healthy and productive. We are entrepreneurs who must continually develop new technology to create more food with fewer resources. All of this is done while the weight of feeding our family and those around the globe sits upon our shoulders.
Here is another fact that you might find surprising: 10% of the farmers produce 80% of the food. This means we must continue to develop new methods in order to meet the growing demand for food worldwide at a time when land used for agricultural purposes continues to decrease. There are many niche markets that allow consumers to make food choices that fit their family lifestyle and provide marketing opportunities for producers based on their production practice. While these labels may add value to some, these sectors alone won’t feed the nation. We must continue to develop new technology, growing practices, and livestock care efforts that further develop our production capabilities. If we are to feed the world, we must learn to do this with less land, fewer producers, and fewer resources.
Abraham Lincoln, in his infinite wisdom, once said, “Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where there was but one, is both a profit and a pleasure.”  That profit and pleasure has now also become a necessity if we are to continue enjoying the abundance agriculture has provided to our lives.
The truth is, farmers and ranchers are the lifeblood of this world.  We provide food that is affordable and healthy. It’s a job that takes many hours, much physical work, great financial risks, and often pays less, but ag producers do it for the same reasons anyone does something difficult: it’s worth it and we find it gratifying. 

Don Brown was appointed the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor John Hickenlooper in January 2015. Brown, a third-generation farmer in Yuma County, has run several successful businesses while spending most of his career managing and growing his family’s extensive farm operations. He has also been active in water conservation, energy development and technology innovation issues within the industry. Don and his wife, Peggy, have three children who continue to call Colorado home. The Brown family farm was homesteaded in 1911 and has been designated as a Centennial Farm. Don’s parents, Cleo and Jennie, were pioneers in pivot irrigation in Yuma County. Don continues that pioneering spirit today through his study of the Ogallala Aquifer and holds two U.S. patents for his fence post systems.

-Don Brown, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture