A panel of experts examined the future of GMOs and their real impact on March 8, 2017, in Champaign, Ill.
Speakers from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the University of Illinois Extension Office, among others, discussed what GMOs do today, their impact on our environment and economy and their next stages.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, CU-CitizenAccess and the Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, Journalism Department at the College of Media, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign co-hosted the event Champaign Public Library.
Leia Flure is a registered dietitian working in the field of nutrition education. She strongly believes that all foods can (and should!) be included in a healthy, balanced lifestyle and is passionate about helping consumers make informed food choices that work for them. Flure earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Master's degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has previously worked as an Instructor Agricultural Communications and as a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension
Dr. Michael E. Gray served as a professor of Agricultural Entomology and as an Extension Entomologist with the Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois. He also provided leadership for the Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Program as an Assistant Dean, College of ACES. He was president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2008 and is a fellow and honorary member of that professional society. His research focused on the management of the western corn rootworm, a significant insect pest of corn throughout the Midwest.
Jack Murray is a fifth-generation farmer of Champaign county and president of Murray Farms Inc. that farms 5,000 acres of corn and soybeans. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in agronomy from the College of Agriculture and received his CCA in 1987. He has sold Pioneer Hi-bred seed for 32 years. He is also president of Premier Co-Op, the largest co-op in Illinois; secretary of One earth Energy , a 135-million gallon ethanol plant located in Gibson City; and was named Farm leader of the Year by the News-gazette in 2012. He is married to his wife Patti of 38 years and has three children very active in promoting agriculture in Illinois, as well as eight grandchildren that will carry on the tradition of feeding the world for another generation as efficiently as possible.
Tamara Nelsen is Senior Director of Commodities and Affiliate Management for the Illinois Farm Bureau. She manages all Commodities Department activities and programs, service agreements and staff for 5 associations, and serves as the major resource on commodity issues including biotechnology and international trade. Prior to joining IFB in 1998, Tamara worked as a senior consultant in agri-food marketing, strategy, and trade. She earned her BA from Stanford University and her MBA from Virginia Tech.
Paul F South is a Research Molecular Biologist, at the USDA/ARS Carl R Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University while working on gene regulation in cholesterol biosynthesis in 2012. Currently, he works on improving photosynthetic efficiency with the goal of making plants produce more on less land. He has lived in Champaign for four years and is married with three children.
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