The Secretary shall establish an Office of Agricultural Environmental Quality in the Department of Agriculture (hereafter in this chapter referred to as the “Office”).
The Office shall be administered by a director who shall be appointed by the Secretary. The Director shall be an individual who has demonstrated technical expertise and experience in agricultural and environmental matters.
The Director may appoint such employees as may be necessary to assist the Director in carrying out this section. Such employees shall include individuals who have professional expertise in matters related to environmental quality, including (but not limited to) agricultural production, water quality, wetland, wildlife conservation, soil conservation, and agricultural chemical usage.
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Interior shall detail to the Office upon request of the Secretary, on a reimbursable basis, at least one employee, respectively, with expertise in matters related to agriculture and environmental quality. Such detailed employees shall serve as a liaison for their respective agencies with the Department of Agriculture to assist the Director in carrying out the provisions of this section. The term of the detail shall not exceed 3 years.
The Director shall assist the Council in developing a departmental and agency-specific environmental quality policy statement and implementation plan and an annual agricultural environmental quality report, as specified in section 5403 of this title. The Director shall coordinate and monitor the activities of the Department regarding initiatives and programs related to environmental quality and the interpretation of departmental policies affecting environmental quality. The Director shall serve as a member of the Council and as its Executive Director.