The San Joaquin Valley is the leading agriculture region in California and among the top in the nation, producing $20 billion worth of farm products per year.
Most of the world's raisins come from the Valley. Processing tomatoes, almonds, table grapes and milk are among the leading commodities in Fresno County. Maybe someday a new "crop" will grow in California and the Valley: biofuel.
University of California scientists and others are conducting ongoing research into potential biofuel crops, according to this Western Farm Press article by Jeannette E. Warnert, who works in the university's farm research facility in Parlier - in the heart of the Valley's agriculture belt.
Sorghum, switchgrass, canola and the hearty jatropha plant are among the crops being tested. This story talks about the strong potential of jatropha on marginal farmland, thus preserving prime farmland. Resistant to drought and pests, it also has a robust yield.
And here is more on sorghum, plus two links to an ambitious collaborative research project in the San Joaquin Valley: here, and here. Finally, here is a link to fascinating work going on along the California coast.
When the biofuel research is added to increasing interest in solar energy, the San Joaquin Valley could be center stage in California's emerging green economy.
image from venturebeat.com