BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Agriculture has hired farmer Robert Sakata to serve as the first Agricultural Water Policy Advisor, a position which was created as a result of funding approved during the 2023 legislative session to engage with Colorado farmers and ranchers on water issues affecting agricultural users. He will start in his role effective January 1, 2024.
“I am beyond excited to have Robert joining our CDA team,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “His lifetime of experience in water and as a farmer, his service to the state over many decades serving on related boards and commissions, and his clear commitment to serving Colorado’s agriculture communities make him the right person at the right time. At a time when agricultural producers are facing historic challenges, Robert will bring both empathy and expertise to the table to represent CDA in supporting ag through these challenges. We look forward to seeing all that he will do in this new role.”
Sakata is President of Sakata Farms Inc. in Brighton, Colorado which was started by his father Bob, and currently cares for 2,500 acres of irrigated farm ground between Brighton, Platteville and Hudson. He attended the University of Colorado studying Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology and child psychology.
Growing up on the family farm, his parents were a great example of how important involvement in the community is. Following their footsteps, Robert is the founding president of the board of directors for the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association which was created to fill a need for a common voice representing produce growers across the state.
“Robert brings experience that can only be gained by making a living in irrigated agriculture to this position,” Conservation Services Director Les Owen noted. “This will make him a tremendous asset to CDA in advocating for the agriculture industry on water issues.”
Sakata was appointed by Governor Polis in 2021 to serve on the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) as a representative of the South Platte Basin. Following the January meeting, Sakata will complete his term and serve as Commissioner Greenberg’s delegate to the CWCB.
Sakata also serves on the boards of the Fulton Irrigation Company, Brighton Ditch Company, and the New Brantner Irrigation Ditch Company. Robert’s past service on organizations include the Metro Basin Roundtable since its inception, the Colorado Water Congress Board of Directors, the National Onion Association Board of Trustees, Adams County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and Colorado Onion Association Board of Directors.
Sakata served Colorado and worked closely with the Colorado Department of Agriculture for 15 years as a member of the Water Quality Control Commission, having been appointed by three different governors.
In the Fall of 2022, the Colorado Farm Bureau awarded Sakata the “Outside of Farm Bureau Service to Agriculture Award,’ a recognition that his recently passed father received in 2013.
In speaking of public service, Sakata said, “I am honored to be able to participate in water discussions no matter where in order to build trust and foster positive relationships that can carry meaningful dialogue forward.”
— Colorado Department of Agriculture