There he joined his uncle Hugh Barkley who had homesteaded in the area shortly after 1912. The two farmed in the Yuma Valley for years producing cotton and alfalfa. The great depression that followed the stock market crash in 1929 started what would be a tough time for farming. The Barkley Family however endured through these years acquiring land along the way. By 1943 Jim Barkley, Les’s only son was graduating from high school and preparing to join the country’s war efforts.
Farming during WWII brought many challenges. A shortage of men on the farm led to the development of the Braceros. Braceros were contract laborers from Mexico who assisted with farming operations here in the United States. As a result of labor shortages during this time many women including Jim’s wife-to-be Louise, joined in the effort on the family farm and helped out where needed. After a 3 year tour of duty in the Navy, Jim Barkley returned to the Yuma Valley and took over the family farming operation from his father.
In the years to follow Jim and his wife, Louise lived and worked in South Yuma Valley while at the same time raising 3 children, Jim, Robby and Mary. In 1979 following Jim’s passing, Robby Barkley made the transition into the family business. In the last 20 years Robby has expanded his agricultural interests to include seed and grain handling, cotton trading and freight services to the agricultural industry. A fourth generation family member, Hank Auza, now manages Barkley Company of Arizona.