University of Illinois hosts PBS NewsHour, experts weigh in on feeding a heating planet

Image of tractor with the words "PBS Newshour Tipping Point Agriculture on the Brink"

URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois will host the special event “Feeding a Heating Planet” — the third and final edition of the PBS NewsHour series “Tipping Point: Agriculture on the Brink” — at 6 p.m. Central Time on May 24, 2023, on the historic quad of the land-grant institution. 

During the 90-minute livestreamed event, Emmy-award-winning science journalist and Tipping Point Executive Producer Miles O’Brien will interview industry leaders alongside experts from the U of I’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Audience questions submitted through social media and an online form will also be addressed. 

“The University of Illinois is an epicenter of collaboration where our faculty are leading groundbreaking initiatives to ensure food security while mitigating the climate crisis,” said Germán Bollero, dean of the College of ACES. “We must continue to engage in honest, research-informed discussions to pave a productive path forward and realize a sustainable future.”

The program will delve deep into possible solutions, such as biotech approaches, to make farming more climate-resilient; the role remote sensing, data analysis, modeling, and artificial intelligence can play in planting smarter; crop diversification as a strategy for making agriculture carbon negative; erosion and water quality issues that can be addressed by relatively simple techniques like reduced or no-tillage and cover cropping; and the role the federal government could play in creating incentives for change in the 2023 Farm Bill.

During the livestreamed portion of the event, Andrew Margenot, professor in the Department of Crop Sciences and Illinois Extension specialist, will discuss how soil is an important factor to secure our food supply. Pre-recorded interviews featuring faculty from the College of ACES will include: 

The program will also feature ACES alumnus and sixth-generation farmer Michael Ganschow; Illinois Farm Bureau director of environmental policy Lauren Lurkins; NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and 2022 World Food Prize winner Cynthia Rosenzweig; founder and executive director of the Triple Helix Institute Sarah Garland; and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Campus and community members are welcome to come to Anniversary Plaza, on the south side of the Illini Union, for the live interviews of Andrew Margenot, Michael Ganschow, Lauren Lurkins, Cynthia Rosenzweig, and Sarah Garland. Submit your questions for the panelists. 

The “Tipping Point” series is sustained by a generous grant from the principal funder, the Walton Family Foundation, which also supports Margenot’s research. Additional funding is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and John F. Swift.