Produce Leader is Colorado State’s Distinguished Alumni Winner

Bob Sakata of Brighton received the Cooperative Extension Alumni Award from Colorado State University for his contributions to the university and Cooperative Extension. The award is given each year to people who have provided exceptional support to Colorado State programs, students and outreach education efforts.

Sakata’s vegetable farming business on 3,200 acres near Brighton began nearly 50 years ago on a 40-acre farm. Today, the business includes farming, processing, sales and trucking. He’s known throughout the world as an innovative leader in the produce industry and has introduced crops and concepts to Colorado vegetable producers.

His involvement in Colorado State includes serving as a member of the Colorado State Cooperative Extension advisory board for Adams County and representing Cooperative Extension on a number of statewide focus committees. He also is a former associate provost’s advisory committee member and has served in an advisory capacity for all of the College of Agricultural Sciences deans during the past 20 years. He’s currently a 15-year member of the Agricultural Science Council at Colorado State and host of many of the university’s field tours for scientists and dignitaries.

Sakata was inducted into the Colorado Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1999 and has served on many local, state and national boards. His community involvement includes serving on the Brighton Community Hospital board, the Brighton Japanese-American Association, Great Western Producers Co-op and in several capacities at his church, First Presbyterian Church of Brighton. He also served as president of the Brighton School board for two terms.

Nationally, Sakata has served as president of the National Sugarbeet Growers Association and director of the National Onion Growers Association. He was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Commodity Credit Advisory board by President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford.