Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed the members of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) for 2011 through 2012. The AAQTF provides recommendations and guidance on the development and implementation of USDA policy related to agricultural air quality.

"These leaders in farming, industry, health, and science bring a broad range of interests, knowledge, and geographic diversity and will be invaluable in providing guidance as the Administration pursues sound scientific research on agricultural air quality issues," Vilsack said. "This task force will continue to help USDA have a broad set of voices at the table as we work together to develop sound policies that will help us win the future."

The AAQTF was established under the 1996 farm bill and is charged with:

1) Providing recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding 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 is chaired by Dave White, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Over the last two years, the task force supported NRCS in developing science-based conservation practices that enhance air quality and reduce the impact of emissions associated with agricultural practices. It also helped USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prioritize the research agenda for agriculture-related air quality concerns and develop emission-estimating methodologies for animal feeding operations.

The 2011-2012 AAQTF members are the following: