The Kirkland Family – Vega, Texas
The Kirkland family brings the quote, “Make the most of what you have, when you have it, and where you are” to life. Their cattle feeding business may have come about by happenstance, but it’s certainly no coincidence that Kirkland Feedyard has grown and thrived over the years thanks to their collective hard work and vision.
In the early 1980s, Perry and Melanie Kirkland were looking to expand their farm and purchased land in Vega, a small town in the Texas Panhandle about 150 miles north of Lubbock. The land came with an empty feedyard area, a “bonus” feature of the sale that was initially not planned for use. However, a close friend called on Perry and asked him for help feeding his cattle, and the vacant pens were quickly filled. In the beginning, Perry and his then teen son, Robby, fed the cattle by hand hauling around 5-gallon buckets and then stepped up to a single feed truck and corn grinder. Still the operation was fairly small-scale. But as the business continued to grow, the processes and services further evolved to keep up with the cattle market’s demands including custom feeding, finance solutions, and risk management assistance. The family also runs a complementary farm and ranch operation where a portion of the cattle feed ingredients are grown.
When Robby graduated from Texas Tech in 1994 with an Animal Science degree, he returned to Vega to help run the feedyard with his dad, eventually taking over the day-to-day leadership. The family is committed to providing a “quality beef product people are proud to serve at their dinner tables” and are mindful of operating in a way that “furthers the beef industry and leaves the community better than we found it.”
“Sometimes we get thrown into the whole corporate America stereotype because we feed more than 20,000 head a year,” says Robby. “However, our feedyard has a family atmosphere, filled with people who work hard together to move our industry forward every day – rain, shine or snow.”
Perry can still be found in the office and working around the property while Melanie (Mimi), now retired, often comes in to lend her administrative expertise during the busy season. Her beef recipe, Mimi’s Meatloaf, is a Kirkland family favorite and legendary throughout Oldham County. Mimi’s Meatloaf has been delivered with love to local families needing a home-cooked meal and also served at countless family gatherings, church potlucks, and even the school cafeteria.
Robby’s wife, Amy, calls herself the “Feedyard Mom.” She and Robby have three children, Calleigh (22), Carson (20), and & Cydney (13). When Carson graduates from college in a couple years, the plan is that he will return to the feedyard and represent the family’s fourth generation in the beef industry.
In her “spare” time, Amy takes care of office work, social media, marketing for Kirkland Feedyard, and also advocates for beef within her communities. She is currently a member of the Texas Beef Council Board of Directors. Additionally, Amy also is the Technology Director for Vega ISD.
When it comes to meal time, beef is the natural choice. Amy’s favorite cut is a ribeye steak cooked in a cast iron skillet. “But we also love grilling,” she elaborates. “And, if you’re ever in the area, Hickory Inn has absolutely the BEST hamburgers around.”