E. Floyd Forbes was born in Marysville, California. He attended elementary schools in Marysville, Tamalpais Military Academy at San Rafael, and the University of California at Berkeley.
On the death of his father in 1915, Floyd assumed management of the Forbes cattle ranch located near Marysville. This ranch had been established by his grandfather in 1870. Forbes continued to operate the ranch until 1960 when it was sold to the University of California to be used as an experimental ranch, now called the Sierra Foothill Field Station. In addition to working the ranch, Floyd also became publisher of the Marysville Daily Appeal, formerly owned and operated by his father. He continued as publisher of the paper until 1921.
Mr. Forbes became president of the California Cattlemen's Association in 1929, serving until August of 1933. He also served as president and general manager of the Western Cattle Marketing Association at this time.
Concurrently with these activities, Floyd was president and general manager of the Tri-State Livestock Credit Corporation, a member of the executive committee of the American National Cattlemen's Association, a member of the Livestock Advisory Board to the Federal Farm Bureau, and a member of the California State Board of Agriculture.
In 1933, he was appointed as director of the western offices of the American Meat Institute, serving in this capacity until March 15, 1946, when he became president and general manager of the Western States Meat Packers Association, a position he held until his death in 1961. In 1946, he also participated in organizing the Western Livestock Industry and Meat Council, then served as chairman of the Executive Committee.
Floyd married Gertrude Owen in 1935. He was affiliated with the San Francisco Golf and Country Club, The Family in San Francisco, the Sutter Club in Sacramento, and the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. He was vitally interested in the work carried on at UC Davis and served on many committees of the University, including the Livestock Advisory Committee to the College of Agriculture.