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Blazer joins USDA as new deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, the first Native American state forester in New Mexico, will join the Agriculture Department as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment on October 11, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today.

Blazer is the former owner of Blazer Conservation Connections, a natural resources-based consulting company. Former New Mexico Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Blazer as state forester in 2003. During his tenure as state forester, Blazer also chaired the Council of Western State Foresters and co-chaired the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition.

A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Blazer 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 its board as president. In 1998 Blazer was elected, and served two consecutive terms, to the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council.

Other USDA staff announcements

  • Leigh Allen, who served as an aide to former Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., will join USDA’s Risk Management Agency on Wednesday as a confidential assistant. Allen advised Lincoln on appropriations, civil rights and rural development issues on the committee and also was assistant to the chief of staff in Lincoln’s personal office. He also worked as an independent consultant on farm bill issues. An Arkansas native, he received a bachelor of arts degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2003.
  • Kathy McEntee has resigned the position of senior adviser to Rural Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein, effective Wednesday.