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
Hal Kreher, producer
Patrick McCormick, producer
Sally Shaver, Shaver Consulting Inc.
Lingjuan Wang Li, North Carolina State University
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.