Our History

Like many in agriculture, Paul Brown worked hard 

his entire life. From the oil fields in high school, 

to wheat farming in a drought, to building an Empire; 

every day provides an opportunity to live by the motto 

“nothing but a square deal.” 

During the 1950’s Paul and his wife Evelyn 

had a growing family and no wheat crop from 

1952 to 1958. Extreme drought brought 

out Paul’s creativity - he was searching for diversification. 

He tried everything, but the idea that stuck was cattle.


Paul began buying and feeding cattle in 1950 and was 

one-third partner in what would become Cattle 

Empire #1 by 1978. At that time Yard #1 was a 4,000 

head yard built for custom feeding lightweight cattle. 

Shortly after Paul took over day-to-day management of 

Cattle Empire, his son Rex started managing the farm and 

Paul leased a nearby yard, Cattle Empire #2. 

Roy joined the business in 1995, adding a third yard

to Paul’s two. Roy continued to grow Cattle Empire 

as Paul did, moving Cattle Empire from a one-time

capacity of 79,000 to 245,000, the fifth-largest feedlot  

in the United States and the largest family-owned. 

Roy and Paul welcomed the 

third generation into Cattle Empire’s management 

when Trista Brown Priest came to work in 2008. 

After a strategic restructure in 2018

Cattle Empire now has a one-time

capacity of 53,000 head, in the 

“Heart of the Beef Feeding Empire.”

Our People

Roy Brown



Roy is the second generation of the 

Brown family to run Cattle Empire. He grew up in Southwest Kansas and worked on the family farm throughout his childhood and high school days. Roy and his wife Laura purchased what was then Cattle Empire #3. Roy was CEO of Cattle Empire from 1997until summer of 2018. His favorite parts of the job are leading the organization in a team management style and trading cattle and commodities. Outside of the office he loves to ride his Harley and play with his dog Migo. 

Trista Brown



Trista Brown Priest is the third generation of the Brown family to work at Cattle Empire. She has worked in different capacities at the feedyard since she was 14 years old. She came back to Cattle Empire full-time as the Empire Repair Services manager following her graduation from Kansas State 

University with her bachelor’s in business

 management and marketing in 2008. She then returned to Kansas State to pursue 

her MBA in agriculture economics and

 finance and graduated in 2012. Following 

her graduation she assumed the roll 

of Vice President of Cattle Empire, 

transitioned to Chief Strategy Officer in 2015, and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. 

Benjamin Fuentes


Yard Foreman

Benjamin is the Yard Foreman for Cattle Empire and has been an employee since 2017. He grew up in Mexico working on a ranch with his father. Benjamin has 35 years experience in the beef industry and has worked in almost every position from feeding, to maintenance, to management. Additionally, Benjamin is BQA certified, and has licenses for Chemigation, fertilizer and pesticide application, and systems operator for drinking water. His favorite part of the job is working around cattle and says any day is a good day when the cattle are fed and treated well, and all employees go home with a smile on their face!

Tera Barnhardt


Veterinary Consultant

Dr. Tera has worked at Cattle Empire since 2017. She grew up in Satanta, KS on a diversified farming and ranching operation and is still involved with cattle. Tera’s family told her she could be anything she wanted to be and with that great family support, started at Kansas State University in 2007. By 2015 Tera had a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, a Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. 

Her favorite part of her job is having her boots on the ground every day, while practicing medicine in an industry that provides the world with a safe and nutritious protein! 

Tim Murphy



Dr. Murphy has been working with Cattle Empire in various capacities since 2002. Tim grew up in northwest North Dakota on a commercial cow/calf and farming operation. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal and Range Science and went on to get his Masters in Ruminant Nutrition. Tim then earned his doctorate degree in Ruminant Nutrition from Ohio State University. Tim’s aspiration as a consultant to Cattle Empire is to always enhance production levels and operational efficiencies.

Joe Matile


Cattle Marketing and 

Procurement Director 

Joe grew up in Eastern Kansas on a farming and ranching operation. Joe helped his father with the cattle and crops until he moved to Western Kansas in 1975. He graduated from the Flint Hills Vocational School in Emporia, KS and wears several hats at Cattle Empire. Joe works closely with our customers, and leads cattle procurement and marketing. Joe also makes the weekly show list. His favorite part of his job is working with customers and helping market cattle.