Anne E. Dorrance was raised in New York State. She received her A.S. degree in biology from Herkimer County Community College, her B.S. degree in forest biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, her M.S. degree in plant pathology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She completed a post-doc at Washington State University Research Unit in Mt. Vernon, working with Debra Inglis examining diversity and host resistance to the new strains of Phytophthora infestans. In the fall of 1997, she joined the Department of Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University (OSU) as an assistant professor with responsibilities in soybean research and field crop extension. She is located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. She was promoted to associate professor in 2003. Her current appointment is 40% extension and 60% research.
Dorrance has developed a national outreach program on the management of key soybean diseases, including Phytophthora root and stem rot and soybean rust. She was chair of the NCDC202 Committee for Soybean Rust when heavy losses were being reported in Brazil. One late Friday afternoon, upon answering the phone from OSU Extension Director Keith Smith, Dorrance was tasked with writing a white paper by Monday a.m. for extension needs for Asian soybean rust. This led to a successfully funded grant from Smith Lever Funds for the development of training tools, including preserved rust infected leaves (from South Africa), an ID card, and soybean rust fungicide manual.
Dorrance is currently an associate editor for Plant Disease and coordinator for the 2009 APS Soybean Rust Symposium. She has also served APS as secretary-treasurer of the North Central Division (2002–2005), chair of the Host Resistance Committee (2001–2002), and member of the Cultural Diversity Committee (1999–2000) and the Graduate Student Committee (1995–1996).
Dorrance has led the teams that have assembled key information for producers, certified crop advisors (CCAs), and county educators. She has developed extension programming, which incorporates “hands-on” demonstrations for identification and management of key soybean diseases in the north central region. In addition to Phytophthora root and stem rot and soybean rust, she has provided outreach on many diseases, including Sclerotinia stem rot, soybean cyst nematode, brown stem rot, and seedling pathogens Pythium spp. and Rhizoctonia solani.
Dorrance is a consummate extension specialist who is always on the lookout for “teachable moments”. She states that her most rewarding work is with producers, educators, and CCAs when she can really teach them about plant pathology, whether it is identifying a pathogen or the concept of resistance. The “hands-on” workshops have been very instrumental in helping clientele really understand some of the more challenging concepts. At one of these workshops, Dorrance brought in some root samples with soybean cyst nematode, with white females clearly visible. One of the attendees could not believe that he could see them. He said his wife told him that they were big enough to see, but he hadn’t really believed it. Dorrance, satisfied that he had now learned how to spot soybean cyst nematode, responded that he might learn to listen to his wife more!
Nationally, Dorrance is recognized as an expert in soybean diseases and she has been a steady and productive leader in the national soybean rust strategic plan. She has been a clear voice and champion of the producers, and her opinions, ideas, and hard work have earned her respect by colleagues across the country. Dorrance has received several awards and honors for her outreach and service, including the American Soybean Association Special Meritorious Award. In addition, she was part to of the Asian Rust Team that was honored by the USDA with the Secretary’s Honor Award for Excellence. She has also received honors such as the Ohio Extension Agents Association Personnel Service Award, the Ohio Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi Team Award, and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Ohio Soybean Council.
Dorrance has written 214 extension newsletter articles and 34 peer-reviewed publications. Also, she has made 190 extension outreach presentations (in-state and out-of-state) and 28 research presentations.