Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture to Focus on Innovation for the Future

The critical role of innovation to the future of U.S. agriculture will be the focus of the 2013 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture next month, and participants may register now to gain insights from the event’s guest speakers.

The public forum, called “Cultivating Innovation: Creating Ideas for our Future,” will run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Denver Renaissance Hotel and will include a number of timely talks and breakout sessions. Cost is $100 per person, including continental breakfast and lunch; registration deadline is Feb. 4 and is available online at

The annual forum is co-hosted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University.

Each year, the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture addresses an important theme of the day, focused through the lens of Colorado agriculture, which contributes an estimated $40 billion each year to the state economy and employs an estimated 173,000 people.

“Innovation is a key to our future in agriculture as we consider the challenges ahead, and all of us, from producers to policy-makers, play a part in advancing innovation,” said Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar.

A renewed national commitment to innovation in agriculture is essential to meeting U.S. and global food and security needs, according to a December 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Such calls for agricultural innovation come as farmers and ranchers are challenged to double food production by 2050 in order to feed a world population expected to top 9 billion people – while also conserving environmental resources and improving food safety.

Speakers during the morning session of the 2013 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture include:

• Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper;
• Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar;
• Colorado State University President Tony Frank;
• Ajay Menon, Colorado’s chief innovation officer and dean of the CSU College of Business;
• Michael Raynor, director of Deloitte Consulting and author of best-selling books including “The Innovator’s Solution” and “The Innovator’s Manifesto”; and
• Leann Saunders, president of IMI Global, Inc., an agricultural verification solutions company and founder of the Where Food Comes From® food labeling program; she also is vice chair of the U.S. Meat Export Federation and leads the federation’s Traceability Working Group.

“We are pleased to present speakers who will help us understand the urgent need for innovation in agriculture and will provide us with specific examples that are helping our industry. Their experiences and insights will undoubtedly spark great ideas among people attending,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

Afternoon breakout sessions will include a presentation about the devastating 2012 drought, led by CSU agricultural economist James Pritchett. At a separate session, Diane Mulligan, president of Mulligan & Co. of Denver and a specialist in strategic communication, will discuss the changing face of communications.

The forum will be preceded by a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion.

The Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture is held in conjunction with the Colorado FFA Foundation’s Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet. The banquet will be the evening of Feb. 14, also at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. For information about the 2013 Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees, and to register for the banquet, visit