|dc.description.abstract||Oilseed crops have potential to replace a portion of the on-farm energy demand currently satisfied by fossil fuel. This dissertation allies mechanical engineering, field testing, and molecular breeding research into an integrated approach to solve problems associated with straight vegetable oil (SVO) production and use on Colorado farms. Four related topics of investigation and activity are reported. To identify an adapted, short-season oilseed crop that could fit into the current High Plains dryland cropping system, a genetic diversity study was conducted on three potential oilseed species: Brassica juncea, Brassica carinata, and Camelina sativa. To illuminate the genetic basis of camelina response to drought stress, a two-year study of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) was implemented under dry and irrigated conditions using 181 recombinant inbred lines (RILS) developed from European cultivars. To understand and eventually manage camelina production, a multi-environmental regional trial of camelina seed yield, oil content, and oil quality was conducted with eight American and European varieties. Extension activities introduced SVO information and technology to farmers in Colorado. Camelina sativa showed better adaptation to semi-arid environments than B. juncea and B. carinata, outyielding them due to camelina's shorter stature, higher harvest index, and greater resistance to flea beetle. Camelina yield, oil content, and linolenic fatty acid (FA) content were higher in cool, wet environments than in warm, dry environments. Linolenic FA content and seed size were negatively correlated (p<0.05) with early flowering time. Earlier flowering was associated with increased seed yield (p<0.01) under dry and hot environments, but with decreased seed yield under irrigation. Environment was a larger source of variation than genotype for all the traits measured in this study. Twenty-nine QTLs were found in camelina for seed yield, oil quality, and drought-tolerance-related traits such as leaf water content and leaf nitrogen content, which could lead to breeding for improvement of camelina performance in semi-arid environments. Some QTLs were shared by multiple traits, suggesting either pleiotropic effects or proximity of genes. The cumulative effect of stable, favorable alleles for seed yield was a 16% increase in yield. Trait responses to moisture varied widely, both in the multi-environmental regional trial using cultivars and in the single-location trial using RILs. The range of trait response reflects variation in plasticity in camelina germplasm. Two analysis methods, namely, additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) and the moisture difference value method, were used to detect false positive QTLs and to predict QTL effect in specific environments. AMMI was used successfully to delineate mega-environments within the study region and to identify the best-adapted varieties for these mega-environments. With the QTL data developed in this study, marker-assisted selection could be used to identify camelina varieties adapted to specific environments or to a broad range of environments. Five lines possessing three favorable yield QTLs expressed under drought conditions are undergoing seed increase and additional multi-locational testing for potential release. Oilseed-for-biofuel workshops, crusher demonstrations, and oilseed field days were conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of potential advantages of SVO for farmers wanting an alternative energy source to reduce their use of fossil fuel. A limited number of early adopters are beginning to integrate camelina into their crop rotation. Three small oilseed crushing and processing facilities have been established from collaboration with farmers and other agencies, and another is in the design stage. Two extension fact sheets will be published on camelina production and on biofuel production at a farm scale.