Steve Orloff, University of California farm advisor in Siskiyou County, was named 2011 winner of the California Alfalfa & Forage Association’s Jim Kuhn Leadership Award.

The award is presented annually to a person or organization for their lasting contributions to the California alfalfa industry.

Orloff became a farm advisor at Lancaster, in California’s high-desert region, after serving in the Peace Corps and graduating with a master’s degree in crop sciences.

So far in his career, Orloff has conducted a wide range of studies on alfalfa management, varieties, harvesting, quality and economics.

“He conducted careful studies of the control of dodder, a major weed in alfalfa production in California, and his studies during the 1980s became the gold standard for management studies for this difficult parasitic weed,” according to the award announcement.

From the desert, he moved as farm advisor to the state’s Intermountain region, where he further established himself as an expert on alfalfa.

From 1984 to the present, Orloff has published more than 74 articles in California and Western alfalfa symposia dealing with subjects including weed management, cutting schedules, irrigation, fertilization and varieties. He speaks nationally and internationally on alfalfa-related topics.

Orloff is the seventh recipient of the award, established in 2005 when Kuhn, a forage innovator, was killed in an accident near his El Centro, CA, ranch.