Friday, January 17, 2014

Colorado Counties Declared a Disaster Area by the USDA

Drought Conditions in Colorado,
1/16/14 US Drought Monitor
On Wednesday of this week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) listed counties in 11 states as primary natural disaster areas due to extreme drought. The majority of states affected by the drought are located in the west, with a few exceptions (Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Hawaii). The western states listed as disaster include: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and California.

Farmers in these states have been struggling to sustain crop yields which puts them at financial risk. The listing ensures that eligible farmers can apply for low-interest, emergency loans from the USDA. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared in a statement, "[The] USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood." The USDA wants to guarantee that farming and agriculture remain an economic force in the U.S.

The past few weeks have seen record storm and snow falls for the east coast. However, a ridge of high pressure has been preventing storms from reaching the Pacific coast and providing them with needed moisture. These weather patterns are causing the droughts to persist and intensify, the U.S. Drought Monitor explains.

Poor snowpack is threatening states dependent on major rivers in the west. The dry conditions could also lead to an active fire season.

For more information, visit the USDA Drought and Disaster Assistance website.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rayme Ortega, MRLS 2008, Discusses Her Current Work

Rayme Ortega (formerly Maldonado) graduated from the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program in 2008 with her Master of Resources Law Studies (MRLS) degree.

Rayme stated, "The MRLS degree I earned from DU gave me the advantage of entering the job force with working knowledge of the legal system. The program helped familiarize me with many different natural resource and environmental laws and laid the ground work for which I am able to interact with entities from other agencies with confidence."

She recently began working for the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) agency as an Agriculture Specialist. The CBP detects and prevents terrorists from entering the United States and is responsible for enforcing laws relevant to boarder crossing, and facilitates the efficient flow of legitimate trade and travel.

Rayme described her position at the CBP: 
 "As an Agriculture Specialist I am trained to serve as an expert and technical consultant in the areas of inspection, intelligence, analysis, examination and law enforcement activities related to the importation of agricultural/commercial commodities and conveyances at the various ports of entry. 

I apply a wide range of federal, state and local laws and agency regulations when determining the admissibility of agriculture commodities while preventing the introduction of harmful pests, diseases and potential agro-terrorism into the United States." 

Rayme shared her compliments of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program, "I am most thankful for the degree I earned from The Sturm College of Law and would recommend it to anyone trying to get an edge on the competition."

Congratulations to Rayme! We wish her continued success in her position with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.