Ag radio welcomes new Kearney director

Jan 7, 2011

Ag radio personality Sean Michael Lisle of KMJ 580 am based in Fresno welcomed the new director of the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center, Jeff Dahlberg, back to California on this morning's ag radio show.

The program is broadcast from 5 to 6 a.m.; for later risers it can also be downloaded or heard on

Lisle caught up with Dahlberg at the San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium in Easton on Wednesday.

Dahlberg told the reporter he is originally from the California Bay Area and spent a lot of time in the Sacramento Valley on his uncles' farms. Most recently, he served as director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program in Lubbock, Tex.

"I haven't seen fog like this in a long time," he said.

Dahlberg said one idea he brings to Kearney is establishment of centers of excellence.

"I would like to start a center for on-farm green technologies," he said. "How can we bring greener technologies to farmers' fields? How can we use solar (energy) to impact electric costs?"

Dahlberg, a sorghum expert, said he is also interested in studying the crop's potential as a renewable energy crop in California.

"Sorghum is one of the few crops that span all the different renewable fuel options," he said. "You can use the grain to convert into ethanol. We have sweet sorghum, a specialty sorghum which is very similar to sugar cane. You can press the juice out and convert it into ethanol. And, we can produce a lot of biomass."

Sorghum could also be a potential water-saving forage crop, he said.

"Last time I checked, there are still a lot of dairies in this part of the world," Dahlberg said.

Dahlberg told Lisle he sees Kearney as first and foremost a resource to help keep farmers profitable.

"That's a real struggle right now," he said. "We're getting less and less farmers in the country. We need to make sure we keep those numbers up, encourage kids to get into farming. It's a good life and you can make some money doing it."

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist