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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Plant Pathologist Honored Nationally for Soybean Rust Work

October 23, 2006

WOOSTER, Ohio -- An Ohio State University plant pathologist, who is leading Ohio's research and Extension efforts on Asian soybean rust, has been recognized nationally for her contributions.

Anne Dorrance, a soybean researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), is among members of the national Asian Soybean Rust Team who have received the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's Honor Award. The purpose of the Honor Awards is to provide high-level recognition to individuals who have made outstanding contributions supporting USDA's mission. It is the highest recognition USDA bestows to acknowledge contributions to agriculture.

Dorrance, who holds an Ohio State University Extension appointment, is considered Ohio's leading expert on soybean rust detection and management. She received the award from Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns during the 59th annual USDA Honor Awards Ceremony on Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C.

"As a field crops researcher and Extension specialist, Anne Dorrance jumped right in when the invasion of rust was detected in the southern U.S., and became one of the national leaders in developing strategies for the detection of, and control of, this potentially devastating disease," said Larry Madden, interim chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. "It is great that Anne is being recognized by the Secretary of Agriculture. We are all very proud of Anne for the many contributions she has made in soybean disease research and Extension, especially with soybean rust, and it is wonderful that the highest official in the U.S. government for agriculture appreciates her work. This reflects well on her, our department, and college."

Since the discovery of soybean rust in the United States in 2004, Dorrance and her colleagues with Ohio State's Agronomic Crops Team have been working tirelessly to prepare Ohio farmers for the arrival of the disease.

The following are some research and Extension education contributions Dorrance and the Agronomic Crops Team have made to soybean rust efforts in Ohio:

• The establishment and monitoring of sentinel plots. Ohio is among soybean-producing states in the country to house sentinel plots -- 50-by-50-foot areas of early-planted soybeans intended as the first line of defense in detecting soybean rust. The 45 plots that dot Ohio's agriculture landscape are the first place researchers and Extension Educators go when soybean rust threatens Ohio.

• The Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education ( Managed by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the site was launched to monitor the occurrence and movement of soybean rust throughout the country using real-time data based on the sentinel plots. The Web site is now also used to track the movement of soybean aphids.

• "Using Foliar Fungicides to Manage Soybean Rust" fungicide manual. This 60-page booklet, designed to help walk a grower through soybean rust management and proper fungicide applications, is a multi-state, multi-organizational effort that covers such topics as a soybean rust overview, making fungicide decisions, fungicide basics, application basics, aerial application tips, bee toxicity and an overview of similar diseases. The publication contains articles, illustrations, photographs, maps, tables and charts, contributed by the nation's leading land grant universities' plant pathologists, as well as experts from Canada. Ohio State, South Dakota State University and the University of Kentucky have led the effort in developing and editing the booklet.

• Soybean rust ID card. "Identifying Soybean Rust," funded through Ohio Soybean Council soybean check-off dollars and federal grants, is the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and 22 land-grant universities, including Ohio State University Extension. The free pocket-sized card, printed in both English and Spanish, outlines soybean rust symptoms and differences to similar-looking foliar diseases, such as bacterial blight, bacterial pustule, downy mildew, Frogeye leaf spot and brown spot.

• Educational efforts on the use and storage of foliar fungicides labeled for soybean rust. Through applied research efforts and effective monitoring of soybean rust throughout the country, Extension Educators have successfully educated growers on the proper use of fungicides, and whether or not they are necessary during a given growing season. As a result, farmers have saved an average of $15-$18 an acre on fungicide costs -- $70 million in total savings to Ohio's soybean industry.

For more information on Ohio State University's soybean rust efforts, log on to

Candace Pollock
Larry Madden