Barkley Seed’s Rich Agricultural History

Barkley Seed’s rich agricultural history continues today with owner Robby Barkley and his siblings involved in the family-owned business.

Barkley’s legacy dates back to the late 1800’s when Robby Barkley’s great-great uncle, Fin Barkley, a railroad man from Tehama, CA, came to the southwest to stake his claim via a land grant program. The claim landed him 160 acres in Yuma, Arizona and the Barkley farming/agricultural legacy began.

Around 1910 Fin’s nephews, Hugh and Les Barkley joined their Uncle Fin on the farm. The two nephews built a tent house (a house with a wooden foundation and floor, half way wood walls then canvas sides and roof) and began clearing the desert floor with a mule team and Fresno scraper.

Les Barkley married Floy Taylor, a school teacher, around 1920. Les and Floy Barkley were Robby Barkley’s grandparents. Les and Floy Barkley had two Children, James (Jimmy) Barkley (1925) and Mary Martha Barkley (1928). Jimmy Barkley, Robby Barkley’s father worked on the farm with his sister Mary Martha. By now the family was farming alfalfa, wheat, maize, cotton and raising cattle and sheep.

Jimmy joined the Navy and attended Rice University obtaining an engineering degree. After serving during World War II Jimmy returned to the farm married Louise Lott in 1948. Jimmy and Louise Barkley were blessed with three children, Mary, Jim Jr. and Robby Barkley.

By the 1970’s the Barkley farming operation under the direction of Jimmy Barkley had grown to 8,000 acres and in 1971 Jimmy formed Barkley Seed and Grain which operates today under the name Barkley Seed, Inc.

In an unfortunate event, Jimmy Barkley was killed in a private plane crash in 1979 on his way to a business meeting in Oxnard, CA. Robby Barkley was in college at the time and left college to come home and take over the Barkley operation. There were some difficult years, but under Robby Barkley’s leadership and commitment to agriculture, he has been able to take what his great-great Uncle had started some 90 years earlier and grow the family business into an agricultural conglomerate known as Barkley Ag Enterprises, LLC that include the grain/seed business, a large farming operation, a salad processing operation, housing development company and various other agriculture investments. Robby has not done this alone, his sons Toby Jones and Michael Barkley along with his Nephew Hank Auza are an integral part of Barkley Ag Enterprises today.

Barkley Seed’s commitment to innovation and quality are a direct reflection of Robby Barkley, his father, his grandfather and his great-great uncle’s hard work over the last 125 years.