News / In The News / January 4, 2024

USDA Selects U of I Team to Study Spring Dust Storms over Rural Midwest

It made headlines nationwide. An abrupt dust storm blinded drivers on Interstate 55 south of Springfield, Ill., on May 1, causing a massive pileup, ultimately killing eight people and injuring 37. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois, Cornell University, and Texas A&M University will try to determine the factors that caused the tragic event with the hope to prevent future similar episodes thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant.

About the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC): The Agroecosystem Sustainability Center was founded in 2021 to lead global efforts in harmonizing sustainable food production with thriving ecosystems. The Center strives to revolutionize agricultural systems through research, collaboration, and engagement, bridging science and practice for agricultural productivity and ecosystem sustainability. Centered in the heart of Midwest on the campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under the umbrella of both the College of Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the Institute of Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment (iSEE), ASC is positioned at the critical intersection of academia, industry, policy, and on-the-ground practice. ASC is creating a diverse and dynamic hub for driving change and is committed to transforming its research into practical and scalable solutions, fortifying our ecosystems, bolstering farm profitability, and empowering agricultural systems to proactively mitigate and adapt to the realities of climate change.

Media Contact: Mike Koon, ASC Communication Lead (