The Agriculture Commissioner is a state level position in all 50 states. The duties of the position vary from state to state, but their general role is regulation of various facets of the agriculture industry as well as promotion of state agribusiness.
| Quick facts about Agriculture Commissioners
- Elected in 12 states; appointed by the governor in 38 states
- In the 12 states where the position in an elected position, one is a Democrat and 11 are Republicans
- Salary ranges (in 2010): $79,026 (Alabama) to $160,064 (New Mexico)
List of Current Agriculture Commissioners
Elected vs. appointed
As it currently stands, there are only two ways in which an individual is able to be selected to assume the role of State Agriculture Commissioner - by either being publicly elected by the people of the state through the primary/general election processes, or by being appointed by the governor.
While the vast majority of the states that do have the statewide governmental position authorize the governor to appoint an individual to the office, there are at least twelve others who have opted to have public voters select the office holders. These states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
The current party breakdown of State Agriculture Commissioners based on whether they are elected by the general public or appointed by the governor of an individual state shows that:
- The 11 states in which Republicans have been elected to the statewide position include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas.
- West Virginia is the only state in which a Democrat has been selected by the people as office holder.
- Governors in the other 38 states are authorized to appoint individuals as Agriculture Commissioners.
- 21 are Democrats. These states include Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming.
- The other 17 are Republican appointees. These states include Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Two states held scheduled agriculture commissioner elections in the 2012 electoral cycle: North Carolina and West Virginia.
Incumbent Steve Troxler (R) won re-election in North Carolina and Walt Helmick (D) won election in West Virginia.