Longtime state agriculture commissioner Cary Peterson resigned Friday as Gov.-elect Jon Huntsman Jr. prepares to take over state government next week.

Peterson, who served as commissioner (heading the state's Department of Agriculture) since 1993, said in a press release that he'd informed Huntsman some time ago he wanted to leave state government.

Before being appointed commissioner by former Gov. Mike Leavitt, Peterson served 20 years in the Utah House and Senate, 10 years of that time in leadership positions.

Peterson's son, Rep. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, lost his challenge this year to fellow Republican Sen. Leonard Blackham, R-Moroni. So come next week, father and son will be out of state government.

"It's been a privilege to serve Govs. Leavitt and Olene Walker, as well as the many hardworking agricultural producers in this great state. I especially wish to thank the dedicated and professional department employees who carry out our important mission," said the elder Peterson.

Peterson listed as some of his accomplishments in 12 years at the department: a national Environmental Protection Agency award for clean water in the AFO/CAFO program; starting the Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.