Born in York, North Dakota in 1919, Mel Kirkeide graduated from high school in Baker. He graduated from Commercial College in Bismarck, and served in the U.S. Army in World War II. After getting his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from NDSU, he worked as an assistant county agent for Stutsman County in Jamestown, and as county agent in Mountrail County at Stanley. He became a livestock specialist at NDSU in 1951, and retired from that position in 1984. During his career, he traveled the state, starting performance testing for beef cattle improvement, promoting the livestock industry, and judging achievement shows and county fairs. He served as secretary of the ND Hereford Association and the ND Beef Cattle Association for over 38 years. Mel was a judge and beef show coordinator for the North Dakota Winter Show for 49 years. Mel Kirkeide has been singled out for his effective and tireless effort to improve agriculture, receiving the highest awards from the NDSU Century Club, the National Beef Improvement Federation, the North Dakota Winter show, the FFA, Epsilon Sigma Phi, the North Dakota Barley Council, and Professor Emeritus status in Animal Science at North Dakota State University.
Year Inducted: 1997