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USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force

Welcome to the website for the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. This site serves as a repository of information about the task force, and provides public access to Federal Register notices, meeting minutes, reports and documents, and official communiqués from and about the Task Force.

Latest News

USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) to meet in Boise, Idaho on April 30 - May 1, 2014 

The USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) will meet in Boise, Idaho on April 30 - May 1, 2014 to continue discussions on critical air quality issues relating to agriculture.  Special emphasis will be placed on obtaining a greater understanding about the relationship between agricultural production and air quality.  The AAQTF meeting will be held at the Oxford Suites Boise, 1426 South Entertainment Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83709. The meeting will convene Wednesday, April 30, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MDT, and Thursday, May 1, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. MDT. Read the Federal Register here.

Further meeting information and documents may be found here.

Questions and comments should be directed to Dr. Greg Johnson, Designated Federal Official.  Dr. Johnson may be contacted at USDA-NRCS-WNTSC, 1201 Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1000, Portland OR  97232; telephone: (503) 273-2424; fax: (503) 273-2401; or e-mail: greg.johnson@por.usda.gov.  


2013-2015 USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force members selected

On August 21, 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the renewal of the USDA 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 is a great example of USDA’s continued commitment to developing science-based climate solutions and conservation practices that enhance air quality and reduce the impact of emissions associated with agricultural practices,” said Vilsack. “I am confident that by bringing together a variety of perspectives and scientific insights to this task force, it will help provide guidance and solutions to resolve air quality challenges facing agriculture.”

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.

Read the full press release here.

Congressional Mandate and Charter

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Congress directed the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service to establish a task force to address air quality issues. This task force shall be comprised of USDA employees, industry representatives, and other experts in the fields of agriculture and air quality. This task force shall advise the Secretary with respect to the role of the Secretary to provide oversight and coordination related to agricultural air quality.

The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force is re-chartered every two years and the latest Charter, signed 4/15/2013, is available here.

Task Force Mission

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The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force has been created in accordance with Section 391 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act of 1996, which directs the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, to establish a task force to address agricultural air quality issues.

The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) was established to comply with Congress and consists of leaders in farming, industry, health, and science. In 1996, Congress found that various studies have alleged that agriculture is a source of PM10 emissions and that many of these studies have often been based on erroneous data. Congress also cited ongoing research by the Department of Agriculture and that federal policy, in regard to air pollution, be based on sound scientific findings that are subject to adequate peer review and take into account economic feasibility. The Secretary of Agriculture was charged to ensure that Departmental federal air quality research not report erroneous data.

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Read about the most recent activities and recommendations regarding the AAQTF in the FY2013 Annual Report.