USDA renews Air Quality Task Force

Task Force promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways agriculture industry can improve air quality.

January 27, 2016

2 Min Read
USDA renews Air Quality Task Force

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the renewal of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of its members for the 2016-18 term. The task force is comprised of representatives from agriculture, industry, academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other agricultural and environmental experts.

"The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is another example of USDA's continued commitment to developing science-based solutions and conservation measures that not only reduce the agriculture industry's environmental impact but, in many ways, enhance our natural resources through improved agricultural practices," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. "Bringing together a variety of perspectives and scientific insights to this task force will help reach solutions to resolve air quality challenges."

The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality. It also helps better coordinate activities and resources among USDA agencies and other federal partners such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

The task force advises the secretary of agriculture on air quality and its relationship to agriculture based on sound scientific findings; reviews research on agricultural air quality supported by federal agencies; promotes intergovernmental (federal, state, local and tribal) coordination in establishing agricultural air quality policy to avoid duplication of efforts, and ensures that air quality conservation practices supported by USDA are based on peer-reviewed research and are economically feasible for agricultural producers.

The task force was formed in 1996 at the direction of Congress to address agricultural air quality issues. Chaired by Jason Weller, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, this is the ninth task force since the first was assembled in 1997.

Members of the 2016-18 task force are:


Marguerite Tan, LLC Farm Operations


Kevin Abernathy, Milk Producers Council

Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau Federation

Manuel F. Cunha, Jr., Nisei Farmers League

Samir Sheikh, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District


Jeff Collett, Colorado State University

Jon Slutsky, producer


April Leytem, USDA Agricultural Research Service


Juan Tricarico, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Clifford Zhang, University of Illinois


Chris Petersen, producer

Charles Stanier, University of Iowa


Clint Quarles, Kentucky Dept. Agriculture

Phil Silva, USDA Agricultural Research Service


Annette Sharp, Louisiana Dept. Environmental Quality


Lara Moody, The Fertilizer Institute

Ana Rule, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Gerry May, producer


Larry Jacobson, University of Minnesota


Terry Spence, producer

New York

Hal Kreher, producer

Patrick McCormick, producer

North Carolina

Sally Shaver, Shaver Consulting Inc.

Lingjuan Wang Li, North Carolina State University

North Dakota

Shafiqur Rahman, North Dakota State University


Merlyn Hough, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency


William Angstadt, Angstadt Consulting


William Norman, National Cotton Council


Brock Faulkner, Texas A&M University

Kelley Green, Texas Cotton Ginners' Association

Anissa Purswell, Enviro-Ag Engineering

Bryan Shaw, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Assn.


Brian Cochrane, producer

Nichole Embertson, Whatcom Conservation District

The first meeting of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is planned for the spring of 2016. For more information, visit the AAQTF web page.

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