The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the renewal of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of its members for the 2016-2018 term on Monday, Feb. 1. The task force is composed 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,” United States 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.”
California members named include 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.
Other members of the 2016-2018 task force come from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, this is the ninth task force since the first was assembled in 1997.
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.