A Texas native (born in Bay City), Allison Huebner Tally received a B.S. degree in biology from Tulane University, an M.S. degree in plant pathology from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from Auburn University. After completing her Ph.D. degree in 1982, she joined industry as a field research and development representative with Ciba-Geigy. Tally later held positions on the fungicide technical team working with Vince Morton, as well as positions in planning, new herbicide product management, and manager of the fungicide and insecticide team. She currently serves as senior technical product lead for fungicides with Syngenta, located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Tally, renowned for her leadership roles in APS and recognized as a dedicated APS volunteer, has focused her career on both professional and public service. Her numerous contributions include APS councilor-at-large; senior editor of APS PRESS; and member of the APS Placement Committee, Youth Program Committee, Office of Public Affairs and Education, Advisory Council of Plant Health Management, APS Foundation Board, Ad Hoc Committee of Profession of Plant Pathology, and APS Centennial Planning Committee. Tally also served as president of the APS Southern Division in 1991 and as president of the Plant Pathology Society of North Carolina in 2002. Additionally, she was the recipient of the APS Excellence in Industry Award in 2002. As an applied plant pathologist within the industry, Tally has been a strong advocate for best management practices, providing recommendations on product stewardship, resistance management, and product development. Her contributions to this industry have benefited countless people and organizations.
In addition to APS, Tally has also been a member of the following professional associations: Georgia Association of Plant Pathologists, Southern Weed Science Society, Society of Nematology, and the Entomological Society of America.
Tally’s devotion to professional and public service as an applied plant pathologist equals her dedication and commitment to APS. Over the past 30 years, she has held numerous positions managing and directing fungicide research and planning the strategic development of new fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides. She has worked closely with university plant pathologists and commodity groups to obtain Special Local Need labels and Emergency Use Exemptions when needed, benefitting growers and consumers alike. Part of her responsibilities included ensuring adequate efficacy data to support fungicide uses. And she also has been responsible for educating growers, university personnel, and colleagues on fungicide technical attributes, stewardship, and best-use practices.
Tally has written numerous technical brochures, presentations, and label directions for use that have facilitated sound product understanding and countless grower benefits. Additionally, she has represented Syngenta as a member of the North America Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) team. The focus of this work on FRAC has been to combat pathogen resistance development through integrated strategies, such as using cultural practices and products with different modes of action to ensure that fungicides remain viable for as long as possible.
An active participant in the USDA’s Technical Science Working Group on Soybean Rust and as an advisor for the National Soybean Rust Symposium, Tally assisted in enhancing communication between industry and federal/state regulatory scientists when soybean rust became a threat to U.S. growers. Tally studied the rust infestations in South America to develop recommendations for management of the disease when it reached the United States. From these experiences, she advocated for the labeling of additional fungicides for soybean rust control in the United States to ensure that the supply of fungicides for treating a potentially enormous acreage with a rapidly reproducing pathogen would be adequate for rust management and to significantly decrease the chance of fungicide resistance development.
Tally has successfully led the way for developing many active ingredients for plant disease management, including some that are quite unique. For example, she managed the technical development for Actigard—the first commercially developed product that does not act directly on the pathogen but rather induces host plant resistance, thereby protecting plants from fungal, bacterial, and/or viral pathogens. Within APS, at the American Chemical Society, in divisional meetings, with grower groups, and at the Environmental Protection Agency, Tally championed this product that mimics the natural systemic activated resistance response, recognizing its potential as another tool for growers to manage difficult to control diseases. Tally also led teams to critically review new active ingredients to determine whether they could be used safely and were economically viable. Equally important, she rapidly terminated development projects that were deemed to be not beneficial, saving valuable resources.
Tally has always been a promoter of communicating science whether among pathologists or others without technical backgrounds. She demonstrated this commitment by serving on the Advisory Council for the Plant Management Network and insisting that Syngenta become an inaugural partner for the network, which evolved into a comprehensive electronic resource for applied agriculture.
Allison Tally is respected by her colleagues around the world, and she is recognized for her accomplishments in plant pathology within academia and the industry.