Jeffrey Collett appointed to USDA task force for agricultural air quality research

Jeff Collett, Atmospheric Science department chair
Jeff Collett, Atmospheric Science department chair

Jeffrey Collett, professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, has been named to the national U.S. Department of Agriculture Air Quality Task Force.

Collett and the 25 other members of the task force will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on air quality issues related to agriculture based on science and research.

Members serve a two-year term and are chosen for their expertise in farming, industry, health and science. They review research on agricultural air quality, promote intergovernmental coordination on policy, and ensure that conservation practices supported by the USDA are based on peer-reviewed research and are economically feasible for agricultural producers.

“The task force examines current agricultural practices and explores opportunities to mitigate identified impacts of agricultural activities and their emissions on air pollution and climate,” Collett said. “Members of the task force come from a wide range of backgrounds, from practicing farmers to academic and government researchers with expertise in air quality and climate, providing for dynamic, well-informed discussions.”

The task force was created by the 1996 Farm Bill to promote USDA research and identify cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality.

Collett’s recent research has focused on unconventional sources of air pollution, including oil and gas development, agriculture, and wild and prescribed fires. His research group has conducted field studies of air quality and atmospheric chemistry at more than 40 locations in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America.

Collett previously served on the task force from 2016 to 2018, when its charter expired. It was not renewed until Jan. 4 under Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“We are pleased that such a highly capable group of people stepped forward and offered to serve during these challenging times,” said Bill Northey, the USDA under secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, in a statement announcing the appointment. “This group brings experience, expertise and common sense to the table at a time when we need all three.”