IR-4’s Senior Research Entomologist Retires


Keith Dorchner

For over 25 years, Keith Dorschner had been the lead Entomologist with IR-4. As Senior Research Scientist, Keith attended numerous domestic and
international meetings, contributed to hundreds of reports and publications and acted as mentor to Junior Scientists. His expertise and knowledge of entomology science is vast and IR-4 will miss his know-how. Keith retired on April 1, 2019.

According to IR-4’s Senior Associate Director, Dan Kunkel, “Keith made so many major contributions in filling the grower toolbox with insect control tools. I am sure his work has resulted in at least a couple of thousand insecticide registrations. He will be missed for his strategic thinking and resourceful approaches to getting new technologies to growers. His work with bait stations, super crop group strategies, data extrapolations for spinosad, chlorantraniliprole, and many others have all added to his contributions. He was one of the most well informed regulatory entomologists I know. He could always tell you what the growers needed, and what may be a good new tool to fill the voids. His peers always respected Keith and the information that he gained from other entomologists was quickly assimilated and applied to filling the toolbox. Keith’s work has contributed greatly to providing the latest and safest technologies. He always focused on IPM compatible products that had risk reduction characteristics. While we are happy for Keith, he will be greatly missed!”

IR-4’s Commodity Liaison Committee chair, Mike Bledsoe had these words to share about Keith. “Since the first day I began to participate in the IR-4 program, Keith Dorschner was there encouraging me forward. I have made several friends over the years, but I consider Keith as one of my close friends. I have told him over the years that when he attends a meeting, the attendance goes up and the meeting benefits, just from his presence. I have referred to him as one of the US’s National Treasures. He is respected in both the US and Canada. Keith’s retirement is certainly well deserved, but it will leave both the US and Canadian programs with one less champion for the minor use industries. I personally want to wish him the best, and to let him know he will be missed.”

Keith worked on some of the most “specialty” of the specialty crops. One such crop was ginseng. There is a group of ginseng growers in Wisconsin that grow some of the finest ginseng in the world. They are very committed to IR-4 and particularly to IR-4 research conducted by Michigan State University’s Mary Hausbeck, who had this to share about Keith, “Keith has a vast body of knowledge and experience that will be difficult to replace. He embodies a genuine and earnest desire to help growers and provide a timely response to their needs. In situations where an industry did not have the benefit of a research entomologist working on their behalf, Keith graciously and humbly offered his insight and assistance. Keith’s ability to think creatively to fill needed pest management gaps has been very much appreciated. Cheers to Keith, for his many years of collegiality with researchers and his service to specialty crop growers.”

IR-4’s Executive Director, Jerry Baron, shared these words, “It has been a great honor to be a friend and work associate of Keith for the past 25 years. He has been the perfect example of the IR-4 spirit in helping provide growers of specialty crops with safe and effective insect management tools. His career accomplishments are many and they mean much to the specialty crop farmers. It is safe to say that almost every specialty crop farmer, organic, advanced IPM or conventional, have used an insect management product where the registration was handled by Keith.”

And finally Stephen Flanagan chimed in with his thoughts about Keith. “The life of a Study Director and Discipline lead extraordinaire is detail, detail, detail and a fair amount of whack-a-mole persistence to bring all those pieces together. Keith Dorschner’s long tenure and tenacity as the IR-4 entomology lead has been a fruitful career for his stakeholders and colleagues in the Western Region. Keith spent some time in the hop yards of Idaho in his early career and maybe that touch of the arid plains worked its way into Keith’s blood. As a colleague I always found Keith’s curiosity and attention to detail to be well fitted to our specialty crop work. If you’re a Treasure Valley hop grower in Idaho or a date palm grower in the Coachella Valley of California your livelihood has been touched by Keith’s work. Resistance? New Crop? New Chemistry? Invasive Pests? From quinoa and spotted wing drosophila to mushrooms and phorid flies there is hardly an aspect of western insect pest control that hasn’t encountered Dr. Dorschner. Keith’s detailed protocols, numerous EPA petitions and the attendant new registered pesticides will have a lasting legacy for western growers.

There’s a rumor afloat that Dr. Dorschner will head out west for a farewell tour to some of his old haunts. We will certainly carve out some time for our esteemed colleague and be left wondering who will follow in Keith’s remarkable path. Keith’s humorous quips and cooperative spirit will be missed. Congratulations Keith and all the best.”