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Release No. 0026.16
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Office of Communications (202)720-4623

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USDA Renews Agricultural Air Quality Task Force, Appoints Members

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the renewal of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of its members for the 2016-2018 term. 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," said Vilsack. "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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, this is the ninth task force since the first was assembled in 1997.

Members of the 2016-2018 task force are:

Arizona

Marguerite Tan, LLC Farm Operations

California

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

Colorado

Jeff Collett, Colorado State University

Jon Slutsky, Producer

Idaho

April Leytem, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Illinois

Juan Tricarico, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Clifford Zhang, University of Illinois

Iowa

Chris Petersen, Producer

Charles Stanier, University of Iowa

Kentucky

Clint Quarles, Kentucky Dept. Agriculture

Phil Silva, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Louisiana

Annette Sharp, Louisiana Dept. Environmental Quality

Maryland

Lara Moody, The Fertilizer Institute

Ana Rule, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Michigan

Gerry May, Producer

Minnesota

Larry Jacobson, University of Minnesota

Missouri

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

Oregon

Merlyn Hough, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency

Pennsylvania

William Angstadt, Angstadt Consulting

Tennessee

William Norman, National Cotton Council

Texas

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 Association

Washington

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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