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USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force

Created by the 1996 Farm Bill, the USDA Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality Research promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality.

USDA is currently seeking nominees to its Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality Research, including agricultural producers, agricultural industry representatives, researchers, scientists and members of health and regulatory communities. Nominations must be emailed to Greg Zwicke at or postmarked by Friday, May 5, 2023, to be considered. See notice for more information.

Role of the Task Force

The USDA Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality Research (Task Force) advises the Secretary of Agriculture on air quality and its relationship to agriculture based on sound scientific findings. In that advisory role, the Task Force:

  • 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
  • Ensures that air quality conservation practices supported by USDA are based on peer reviewed research and are economically feasible for agricultural producers.

Who's on the Task Force

The Task Force membership consists of leaders in farming, industry, health, and science for two-year terms.

There are many aspects of agricultural air quality, so it is important that the Task Force be composed of individuals from all walks of life—including people with expertise in agricultural air quality, farmers and ranchers, rural and urban dwellers, multiple ethnicities, as well as those who simply have an appreciation and knowledge for the importance of clean air and its interplay with agriculture. The Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will serve as Chair of the Task Force. NRCS will provide coordination for the Task Force.

Newly appointed members, who will serve terms of up to two years, will be listed here following the selection of new members: 

  • Dr. Brent W. Auvermann – Amarillo, Texas
  • Mr. Robert V. Avant, Jr. – Taylor, Texas
  • Dr. Robert T. Burns – Maryville, Tenn.
  • Mr. Brian F. Cochrane – Kahlotus, Wash.
  • Dr. Jeffrey L. Collett, Jr. – Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Mr. Manuel Cunha, Jr. – Clovis, Calif.
  • Dr. Nichole Embertson – Bellingham, Wash.
  • Ms. Andrea L. Foglesong – Timnath, Colo.
  • Mr. J. Kelley Green – Austin, Texas
  • Dr. April Leytem – Hailey, Idaho
  • Dr. Hong Li – Hockessin, Del.
  • Mr. Gerald May – St. Louis
  • Mrs. Lara Moody – Upper Marlboro, Md.
  • Mr. Kevin G. Rogers – Laveen, Ariz.
  • Dr. Joseph Rudek – Wynnewood, Pa.
  • Ms. Annette H. Sharp – Baton Rouge, La.
  • Ms. Sally L. Shaver – Cary, N.C. 
  • Dr. Bryan W. Shaw – Lexington, Texas
  • Mr. Samir Sheikh – Fresno, Calif.
  • Dr. Philip J. Silva – Bowling Green, Ky.
  • Mr. Jon Slutsky – Wellington, Colo.
  • Ms. Marguerite Tan – Taylor, Ariz.
  • Mr. James A. Vaughn – Forsyth, Ga.
  • Dr. Rodney T. Venterea – Mounds View, Minn.
  • Dr. Lingjuan Wang-Li – Cary, N.C.
  • Mr. John Weir – Orlando, Okla.


Subcommittee details will be provided after the first meeting under the 2020 Charter when subcommittees will be established.

Contact the Task Force

Please send your questions or comments regarding the Task Force to:
Greg Zwicke, Designated Federal Officer
Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
West National Technology Support Center
2150 Centre Avenue, Building A, Suite 314B
Fort Collins, CO 80526

Meeting Information and Documents

Documents and Information presented at USDA Air Quality Task Force meetings.