The first meeting of this charter of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) took place on May 20-21, 2003.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ USDA and EPA agency representatives gave presentations on the first day detailing agency activities relative to air quality.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ These presentations updated the members on the current state of USDA and EPA research, technology transfer and policy, and provoked discussion highlighting the chief concerns of the Task Force.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
The Task Force recognized the urgent need for new and improved standardized measurement and monitoring protocols, and conservation practices.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The Task Force noted the importance of partnering with stakeholders to develop reasonable policy objectives and repeatedly found funding to be one of the most critical issues facing air quality improvement today.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Members emphasized the necessity of this funding in order to respond to the need for accurate data and better emission factors and dispersion models.
Emerging technology discussions generally focused on methane digesters, cogenerated power, biofuels, various techniques to capture ammonia (poultry houses), and the continued need for financial assistance for producers to install new abatement technologies.
Dr. Beth Sauerhaft, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, began the presentations with a discussion of Atmospheric Resource Quality Management activities, including practice standard revisions and new standard development, tool and policy development, and a handful of other activities relating to greenhouse gases, regulated pollutants (including odor), and renewable energy production.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ This was followed by presentations from Dr. Robert Wright, and Dr. Steve Shaffer, from the Agricultural Research Service, on research programs related to particulate matter and gaseous emissions from agriculture, ozone creation, and pesticides and greenhouse gases.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Dr. Robert Flocchini, a task force member from UC Davis and Vice-Chair of the panel, presented a brief summary of the recommendations made by the scientific panel of the National Academy of Sciences report entitled, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge Future Needs.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Sally Shaver, the EPA member on the Task Force, spoke on current Title II regulatory issues: diesel irrigation pumps under Title V, Title 2 mobile sources in California, non-road engines incentives to decrease sulfur, incentives for farmers to voluntarily adopt air quality-related best management practices, and developing criteria standards for PM2.5, PM10 and ozone.
Dr. Ray Knighton, from the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service, presented details of their Air Quality Program.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ He also described the new National Research Initiative (NRI) integrated program for air quality research, education, and extension for which requests for funding assistance have just been solicited.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The NRI Program emphasis centers on emission data, improved measurement, fate/transport studies, and process-based models.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Dr. Allen Riebau, from the Forest Service, presented information on three main Forest Service areas of activity:ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ fire, wilderness Class I Areas, and weather variability as they relate to smoke management, fire meteorology, and the national fire plan.
Dr. James Vickery, from the EPA, introduced and discussed the report, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Strategic Research Plan for Particulate Matter.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The goal of the plan was to put good science into decision makersï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ hands through integration, coordinating among federal agencies and private sector, and addressing key research areas.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Dr. Doug McKinney, from the EPA, discussed agriculture-related air quality research in the areas of modeling, inventory development, source-receptor modeling, and deposition to watersheds of animal feeding operations, nitrogen compounds, and open burning.
Don Kopinksi, from the EPA, discussed air quality issues regarding mobile and non-road diesel sources.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ EPAï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s Tier 4 Program is a new, non-incremental program with a seven-year phase-in for fuel after new engines are on the market.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ New engines will add approximately 1-2% to cost of vehicle, and at a 1.5B/yr cost, will have an estimated 81B/yr benefit.
As a prelude to the group discussing the major issues they wish to address during their charter, members Annette Sharp and Kevin Rogers presented a summary of the AAQTFï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s past accomplishments, thus introducing new members to the activities and on-going work of the Task Force.
The Task Force identified approximately 27 goals, which were then placed into one of four categories:ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Policy, Education/Technology Transfer, Research, and Emerging Issues.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Members aligned themselves with one of the four categories, with the purpose of identifying and reporting on three primary goals for each category at the next meeting.