Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Nov. 6 announced the renewal of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and the selection of the individuals to serve as members for the two-year, 2008-2010 term.

Task Force members from California include: Kevin Abernathy, California Dairy Campaign; Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau Federation; Manuel F. Cunha, Jr., Nisei Farmers League; Roger Isom, California Cotton Ginners & Growers; Paul Martin, Western United Dairymen; and Richard McVeigh, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Representing Arizona is Kevin Rogers, producer, Rogers Brothers Partnership.

The Task Force is chaired by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and is comprised of USDA employees, industry representatives, and other experts in the fields of agriculture and air quality.

"This Task Force serves a very important role because conservation of our natural resources, including protecting air quality, is particularly vital to our farmers and ranchers who depend on these resources to produce our nation's food and fiber." Schafer said.

The role of the Task Force is to advise the agriculture secretary on issues related to agricultural air quality, including strengthening and coordinating USDA air quality research efforts and identifying cost-effective ways in which the agriculture industry can improve air quality.

Representatives from USDA's Forest Service, Agricultural Research Service and Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service will also participate on the task force.