Colorado’s new governor, Jared Polis, has named Kate Greenberg as the state’s new commissioner of agriculture. Greenberg will take on the role of leading the department’s daily operations, directing its 300 employees and overseeing the agency’s eight divisions: Animal Health, Brand Inspection, Colorado State Fair, Conservation Services, Inspection and Consumer Services, Laboratory Services, Markets and Plant Industry.
Most recently, Greenberg was the Western program director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, where she was involved in water issues. “For the past 10 years, I have sat around dozens of kitchen tables, worked with hundreds of farmers and ranchers, and have been a fierce advocate for family agriculture and its essential role in what we value most about Colorado,” she said in a press statement.
In her work with NYFC, Greenberg worked closely with Colorado’s Basin Roundtables, and was involved with the state’s Water Plan and Colorado River Basin water policy. Over the past six years, she worked with producers across the state to reshape policies and programs at the state and federal level that enable more family producers to make a living for themselves and their families on the land. Her efforts included work on issues of farmland affordability, agriculture education, access to capital and credit, and Food Safety Modernization Act compliance.
In February 2011, Greenberg joined the Sonoran Institute, which connects people and communities with their natural resources. As the restoration field assistant, she managed a native tree greenhouse and seed-saving program as part of an international project. Her career has also included managing natural resources field programs at Whitman College and working full time on a direct market farm in western Washington.
She has a lengthy list of awards and community involvement:
• Quivira Coalition, board chair since December 2016 and board member since 2013
• Southwest Basin Roundtable, liaison since January 2015
• Southwest Farm Fresh Coop, former board member
• “Conservation Generation: How Young Farmers and Ranchers are Essential to Tackling Water Scarcity in the Arid West,” a 2016 NYFC report
• Emerging Leader award from the Western Resource Advocates, 2016
• Nominated as a Climate Trailblazer by the office of former California Gov. Jerry Brown, September 2018
“As commissioner, I look forward to meeting with Colorado’s farmers, ranchers, and agricultural organizations to further advance an industry that is so vital to our way of life,” Greenberg said.
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