USDA renews Agricultural Air Quality Task Force, appoints members

USDA announced the renewal of USDA’s Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of its members for the 2013-2015 term. The task force is composed of representatives from industry, agriculture, academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other agricultural and environmental experts. 

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 is charged with: 

1) Advising the agriculture secretary on air quality and its relationship to agriculture based on sound scientific findings; 

2) Reviewing research on agricultural air quality supported by federal agencies; 

3) Promoting intergovernmental (federal, state, local and tribal) coordination in establishing agricultural air quality policy to avoid duplication of efforts; and 

4) Ensuring 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 eighth task force since the first was assembled in 1997. 

The members of the 2013-2015 task force are: 



Kevin G. Rogers, Producer/Arizona Farm Bureau Federation 



Kevin Abernathy, Milk Producers Council

Paul Buttner, California Rice Commission

Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau Federation

Manuel F. Cunha, Jr., Nisei Farmers League 

Richard McVaigh, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District



Michael Abazinge, Florida A&M University



April Leytem, USDA Agricultural Research Service 



Chris Petersen, Producer/National Farmers Union 

Hongwei Xin, Iowa State University 



Annette Sharp, Louisiana Dept. Environmental Quality 



D’Ann Williams, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health 



Larry Jacobson, University of Minnesota 



Terry Spence, Producer 


North Carolina 

Lisa Greene, RTI International 

Sally Shaver, Shaver Consulting Inc. 

Lingjuan Wang Li, North Carolina State University 



William Angstadt, Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association 

Eileen Wheeler, Pennsylvania State University 



Robert Burns, University of Tennessee 

William Norman, National Cotton Council



Robert Avant, Jr., Texas A&M University 

Brock Faulkner, Texas A&M University

Bryan Shaw, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality 



William Herz, The Fertilizer Institute 



Nichole Embertson, Whatcom Conservation District 

Brenton Sharratt, USDA Agricultural Research Service 


The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is scheduled to meet later this fall. For more information on the task force, visit NRCS’ air quality webpage. To learn more about USDA’s work to help rural America create climate solutions and the effort to reduce carbon pollution, visit