Business experts agree that people are a company’s most valuable asset. For feedyards, the most valuable employees are those dedicated to the care and feeding of the animals, and yard managers claim those employees have characteristics that just can’t be written into a job description.

Hector Pacheco is one such employee. In fact, Pacheco may have set the bar for animal care and job dedication at a height few will ever challenge. As the recipient of the 2012 Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award from the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame, Pacheco provides a daily example of hard work, loyalty and dedication to the people and animals under his supervision.

“Hector typifies the ‘old guard’ employee that is dedicated to his job, loyal to the company and truly cares about the cattle,” says Bill Brandenberg, owner and manager of Meloland Cattle Co., El Centro, Calif.

Brandenberg cites some amazing facts about Pacheco’s long and distinguished career: 56 years as an employee in California’s livestock industries; 35 years as an employee with Meloland Cattle Co. At 78 years of age, Pacheco still works seven days a week and manages the cowboy crew and maintenance of the pens. And, Pacheco still rides his horses, which he describes as his “pride and joy.”

“After immigrating from Mexico, Hector first worked in the dairy industry for two years in the Tulare area before coming to the Imperial Valley,” Brandenberg says. “He worked at several feedyards and pasture operations in the Imperial Valley before coming to work for me as a cowboy at OK Corral Feedyard in 1978.”

When Brandenberg purchased Meloland Cattle Co. in August 1980, “I brought Hector to work for me here at the current location.”

In fact, Pacheco moved into a house at the feedyard and raised his family there.

“If we have cattle arrive late in the night Hector is always there to take care of them. And if we are shipping cattle early in the morning, Hector is in his office making coffee for the crew at 4 a.m.,” Brandenberg says.

Pacheco brings a wealth of experience to his job, and his knowledge of livestock is invaluable.

“Hector can spot a sick steer driving down the alley that a cowboy might have missed riding through the pens,” Brandenberg says. “He’s an expert stockman and an excellent supervisor. He leads by example.”

Pacheco is the father of five grown children, and has nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His son, Hector Jr., followed his father into the livestock business and has been employed at Meloland Cattle Co. for 27 years.

“It is very hard to find employees today with Hector’s work ethic and dedication to the company,” Brandenberg says. “We have truly been blessed to have Hector as an employee.”

Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award

Recognizing the critical roles of feedyard employees, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame in 2010 initiated the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award, naming the award for its inaugural recipient, the late Arturo Armendariz, who spent nearly three decades as a valued employee at Poky Feeders in Kansas. Each year at its annual banquet, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame names a recipient of the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award, honoring men and women, nominated by their employers, who dedicate their careers to the cattle-feeding industry.

For more information on the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame and all its inductees, visit

Other 2012 Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame Members:

Bob Rebholtz: Passion and compassion

Willard Sparks: A humble entrepreneur

Terry Klopfenstein: A teacher's long reach