Brown addresses 2019 Ag Conference

Former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, left, and LeRoy Salazar, right, visit during a break at the 2019 Southern Rocky Mountain Ag Conference./Courier photo by Helen Smith

MONTE VISTA — Former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown shared a candid keynote address with those gathered at the 2019 Southern Rocky Mountain Ag Conference on Wednesday.

Brown jokingly noted that since he is no longer a “government employee,” he is back to dealing with the normal struggles of everyday people. He also stressed the importance of adapting to challenges.

“Politicians are nothing more than typical human beings... the only difference is that they’re powerful,” he said.

During his time as commissioner, Brown observed that average citizens have to do a lot of explaining in order to get the government to see their point of view. He also mentioned that Colorado agriculture faces challenging regulations that are proposed and/or passed such as the rules for Tier 4 tractor engines.

Brown also recounted some of his experiences during his service. One of the most memorable parts of his work was having the opportunity to do a great deal of traveling while in office. Seeing countries such as Myanmar (formerly Burma) where the living conditions have seen a significant decline in recent years gave him a renewed sense of appreciation for what the United States has.

Brown also acknowledged that there are messages that the mainstream media and corporations are spreading about agriculture. He referenced to the recent Super Bowl commercial from Anheiser-Busch about “corn syrup.”

Brown is also a believer that “organic” is an overused term that can create an element of distrust towards the agriculture industry.

Furthermore, he expressed concern that the U.S. has entered into too many agriculture-related deals and is fighting on “too many fronts.” He is hopeful that some of these agreements will be closed.

“Preservation, conservation, and sustainability are a way of life for us,” he said. He challenged listeners to “stay involved and speak up.” He also reminded the audience to be “ever vigilant,” and work to protect and make wise use of what they have been given.