WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to add two new staff members to the Natural Resources and Environment mission area and the Risk Management Agency.


On Tuesday October 11, Arthur "Butch" Blazer will join USDA as a Deputy Under Secretary in the Natural Resources and Environment mission area. Blazer is the former owner of Blazer Conservation Connections, a natural resources based consulting company that specialized in connecting clients with the resources needed to enhance and protect the environment. 


In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Blazer as "State Forester" of New Mexico, the first Native American to hold that position.  During his tenure as State Forester, Butch was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. 


A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Butch has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life.  Prior to his service as State Forester, he served 27 years in the department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Range Management Specialist, Natural Resources Manager, and Agency Superintendent. He was also a co-founder of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and has served on their Board of Directors and as the organization's National President. In 1998 Butch was elected, and served two consecutive terms, to the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council. 


On Wednesday October 5, Leigh Allen will join USDA as a Confidential Assistant in the Risk Management Agency.  Prior to his appointment, Leigh served as an independent legislative consultant, advising and training cooperatives and other stakeholder groups on Farm Bill, agriculture, and rural development policy. 


He is a former Professional Staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agricultural, Forestry, and Nutrition where he advised Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln on appropriations, civil rights and rural development issues. Allen also served as the Deputy Projects & Appropriations Specialist and Assistant to the Chief of Staff in Senator Lincoln’s staff office.  An Arkansas native, Leigh was a McNair Scholar, and received his BA in Marketing from University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2003. 


For more Agri-Pulse news, go to http://www.agri-pulse.com/