Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced both the renewal of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force and selection of the individuals to serve as members for the 2004-2006 term.

“The individuals selected represent a variety of interests and geographic diversity and will provide guidance for effectively dealing with air quality issues as they relate to agriculture,” Veneman said.

Task Force members named from the Far West include:

Kevin G. Rogers, producer and president, Arizona Farm Bureau; Cynthia Cory, California Farm Bureau; Robert G. Flocchini, University of California-Davis; Roger Isom, California Cotton Ginners and grower.

The task force is chaired by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and made up of USDA employees, industry representatives and other experts in the fields of agriculture and air quality. The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force charter is renewed every two years to address agricultural air quality issues.

The task force will serve as an advisory committee and will operate under the terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The role of the task force is to advise the 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 also participate on the task force.

The first meeting of this task force will be scheduled in November in Washington, D.C. Additional information is available on the Web at http://aaqtf.tamu.edu or by contacting Elvis Graves, NRCS designated federal official (DFO), at 202-720-3905 or e-mail elvis.graves@usda.gov.