Since 2005, CAFA has presented the Jim Kuhn Leadership Award at the Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. It’s presented to a person or an organization for contributions to the California alfalfa industry. The award was established in 2005 when Kuhn, an industry icon, innovator and founder of CAFA, was killed in a vehicle accident near his ranch in El Centro.

This year’s recipient is Joe Machado, who began his career in 1981 after graduating from UC Davis. In 1969, at age 12, his family emigrated from the Azores, where the main industry is agriculture. But he was a “city slicker” before coming to the U.S, he said. Joe worked with his father milking and feeding cows in the SJV until he went to college. Thirty one years after receiving his degree at UC Davis, Machado started his career in the seed industry and plans to keep working in the industry for many more years.

As a marketing alfalfa specialist for America’s Alfalfa, he has made many friends and helps growers improve production and the bottom line. His many years of experience make him sought after and working with growers is his passion. Machado takes pride in “trouble shooting” and determining how better management will increase profits.