Message from the Director

Anne DorranceThe CFAES Wooster Campus of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science has many unique attributes and over a 100-year history of providing research-based information directly to farmers, as well as the food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries. We are home to a 2-year Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) that highlights the best of experiential learning through 32 programs of study. Programs of study and areas of research are offered by the departments of Animal Science, Entomology, Food Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Horticulture and Crop Science, and Plant Pathology as well as the Center for Food Animal Health and the School of Natural Resources.

Though CFAES has multiple campuses (Columbus, CFAES Wooster and Statewide), we truly are one college in that most faculty on the Wooster campus work and teach on the Columbus campus as well as our statewide campus–through extension or on one of the many research branches based around the state.

We contribute to the overall college mission of “We Sustain Life” with research, teaching and extension focused on the Grand Challenges through several lenses. Our teams housed on the Wooster campus cover the breadth of agriculture from exploring new crops, management of pests and pathogens, new production practices, development of new cultivars and breeds using traditional and genomic strategies, new forms of bioenergy, and new products from crops and agricultural waste. We also explore the microbes that help animals digest food more efficiently or those that improve crop growth through defense or greater nutrient absorption. Our research teams study the best means to grow crops and raise animals in all production systems from organic to highly mechanized systems.

Our most basic work strives to understand how a specific gene may affect a trait to defend against a pest or pathogen or improve its nutritional components. New compounds, vaccines, nanotechnology, and gene editing are just a few of the tools that our teams use to identify means to improve overall crop and animal health and productivity. We are identifying new agriculturally based products through engineering to explore the best means to extract key plant compounds for commercial uses, as well as find new ways to utilize and monetize agriculture waste products.

Our faculty, graduate students, scholars, and staff develop solutions to agricultural and human health challenges through partnerships with scientists in the U.S. and around the world. We share these findings with farmers in Ohio through our Extension colleagues in all 88 counties or move these discoveries to industry partners.

Resources available to our CFAES faculty and staff to conduct research and train our students include: over 4,000 acres of agriculture and forested land; engineering and processing facilities that enhance our activities in plant based products, and one of three Biosafety Level 3-Agriculture facilities in the U.S. The CFAES Wooster campus is also home to our soil and water quality lab (STAR) and Molecular Cellular Imaging Center (MCIC) which has specialized microscopy and genomics facilities.

All of our students—undergraduates at ATI, those that come here on internships, graduate students, visiting and post-doctoral scholars—have the opportunity to train and learn with faculty that have a deep passion for what they do. We are only limited by the imaginations and curiosity of the more than 550 professionals that work with many others to identify the answers to agriculture challenges or those who come here to study and train to be part of our food, agricultural and environmental sciences work forces. Won’t you join us?

Dr. Anne Dorrance
Associate Dean and Director,
Wooster Campus, and Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station