WASHINGTON, D.C. —Prominent San Luis Valley citizen, professor of business at Adams State University, farmer and rancher Armando Valdez is to be appointed by President Biden as Colorado State Director of USDA Rural Development. The intention to appoint was made public in an announcement released on Friday.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this critical role within the Biden Administration,” Valdez said in a statement to the Valley Courier following the announcement. “As President Lincoln indicated many generations ago, the US Department of Agriculture is ‘The People’s Department.’ It is a privilege to serve the American people. The programs facilitated by Rural Development and the USDA are the investments of the American people in our rural communities. Our rural communities are the foundation of our society by producing food, fiber and energy. I will work hard as a leader and advocate to promote enhancements and progress for all of Rural Colorado.”
This is not the first time Valdez has served by presidential appointment in an executive role on the front lines of rural issues. In November 2009, he was appointed by President Obama to the USDA-Farm Service Agency Executive Committee for Colorado. In 2012, Valdez was subsequently appointed as executive chair of the committee, a position he served in until 2018 when his term ended. While in that position, he helped administer the Farm Bill, execute farm policy, and manage other federal programs to support farmers and ranchers.
Valdez was born and raised in the San Luis Valley on a cattle, sheep, small grains, and hay operation. In 2007, he created Valdez Land & Livestock to continue his family’s farm operation. He operates it today along with his sister and their families. Valdez is also a business professor at Adams State University and serves on the Board of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.
In 2021, Valdez, in conjunction with Rio de La Vista, Director of the Salazar Rio Grande Center del Norte at Adams State University, launched the inaugural class “Water Essentials 101”, the first class in the newly created minor in Water Studies.
In addition to his duties at ASU, RGWCD and Valdez Land & Livestock, Valdez also serves as Board President for the Guadalupe Parish Credit Union, member of the Conejos County Land Use Planning Commission, Chairperson of the Conejos County Board of Adjustments, Chairperson of the St. Joseph Parish Finance Committee and member of the Noxious Weed District for Conejos County.
Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper issued a joint statement following the announcement of Valdez’s appointment.
“From food production to rural development, agriculture is central to Colorado’s economy,” said Bennet. “As a Colorado producer, Armando has a deep understanding of the important role USDA plays in our state, especially our rural communities. With their personal experience operating farms and their background at USDA, Kent and Armando are exactly the leaders Colorado’s agriculture economy needs. As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, I look forward to working with them to support our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Colorado.”
“Armando Valdez [is a] Colorado farmer who know the ins and outs of our agriculture,” said Hickenlooper. “They’ll hit the ground running at USDA.”