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Welcome Address:
We are honored to have Kate Greenberg, CO Commissioner of Agriculture, provide our Welcome Address on Friday morning, March 8!

Kate Greenberg was appointed to serve as Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. As Commissioner, Greenberg provides leadership and direction to the Colorado Department of Agriculture and its 300 employees. Commissioner Greenberg has worked in agriculture for more than 12 twelve years, from boots-on-the-ground experience to advocating for family farmers through two federal Farm Bills.

Prior to her appointment, Greenberg was the Western Program Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), where she established and grew the organization’s presence and membership across the West. In her role as Western Director, she organized farmers and ranchers to advocate for state and federal policies that best serve them. Her work focused on farmland affordability, ag education, protecting water for agriculture and expanding access to capital and credit for young and beginning producers.

Leading up to her tenure at NYFC, Greenberg farmed on various operations across the West, managed Western policy field programs through her alma mater, Whitman College, and worked in natural resource education and restoration from eastern Washington to Mexico’s Colorado River Delta. Greenberg was also involved in the development of the Colorado Water Plan and Colorado River Basin water policy, advocating for policies that keep water in agriculture.

Greenberg is the recipient of the Emerging Conservation Leader Award from Western Resource Advocates and an awardee of the 2019 Who’s Who In Agriculture recognition from Colorado Farm Bureau and the Denver Business Journal. She graduated from Water Education Colorado’s Water Leaders flagship course in 2018 and sits on the board of the Quivira Coalition, which brings ranchers, scientists, and conservationists together to practice land stewardship at the radical center. As Commissioner, Greenberg serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado State Fair Board. While she currently spends much of her time on Colorado’s Front Range and traveling the state, she still calls Durango, Colorado home.

Keynote Address:
We are thrilled to have Robert Sakata, Colorado Department of Agriculture Ag Water Policy Advisor, joining us for our Keynote Address on Friday, March 8!

Robert Sakata serves as the Colorado Department of Agriculture Ag Water Policy Advisor, a new position approved by the 2023 legislative session, beginning his new position in January 2024.

The establishment of an agriculture ag water policy advisor ensures that there is a dedicated liaison between CDA and other state agency partners who work with agricultural stakeholders, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Colorado Water Quality Control Division, and the State Engineer’s office. Robert will focus on building relationships with water entities and organizations around the state while still acting as president of Sakata Farms in Brighton, Colorado.

Robert has a wide range of water experiences beyond his family’s irrigated farming operation, where he currently serves on the mutual ditch company board of directors for the Brighton, Fulton and New Brantner Irrigation Ditch Companies. He previously was appointed to serve on the Agriculture Groundwater Advisory Board that was formed as a result of SB90-126. Because of his role on the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, where he was appointed by 4 different governors, he has already spent more than 15 years in State service. Additionally, he served on the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Board of Directors (now known as Water Education Colorado), where he helped put together the first Water Quality Citizen’s Guide.

When the basin roundtables were formed in 2005 as a result of the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, Robert joined the Metro Basin Roundtable and served as the agricultural representative, helping form the non-profit Colorado Ag Water Alliance. During that time, he served as a Governor appointee to the InterBasin Compact Committee until his appointment to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) in 2021. He served 3 years on the Colorado Water Congress Board of Directors before beginning his current role with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Robert will remain active with the CWCB Board of Directors by acting as the Commissioner’s proxy when needed and attending meetings in his new capacity.

Robert was born and raised in Colorado and has been involved in numerous farm organizations. Beginning in 1989, he served on the Adams County Farm Bureau Board, leading to further involvement on the American Farm Bureau Federation National Horticulture Advisory Committee. In 1997, he was elected to the Colorado Onion Association board of directors and later served on the National Onion Association Board of Trustees. In 2013, with the help of dedicated CSU Cooperative Extension staff, he helped form the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) and served as the founding president until his appointment to the CWCB. The formation of the CFVGA has led to a lasting partnership with the Western Growers Association.

Having grown up on the family farm, Robert attributes his hard work ethic and desire to serve the community from the inspirational example that his parents set as well as motivation to become involved in other areas including the Adams County Open Space Advisory Board, Adams County Cooperative Extension Advisory Committee, CSREES Northern Plains and Mountain Region Advisory member, Colorado Ag Council (chair in 2011), and National Produce Safety Training Advisory Council. Robert is thrilled to be able to apply his farming experience in this new role with the Department of Agriculture, especially since food and water connect us all.

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