Allen Spencer was born in Montana where his father was a pioneer cattleman. Al attended Stanford University, and then the University of California, graduating as a mining engineer. After graduation, he and his bride, the former Martha Macgillivray of Stanford, went to Tonopah, Neveda where Al worked in the mining industry.
After a few years the Spencers bought a large ranch at Cranmore, Sutter County, California, in the newly reclaimed Sutter Basin. There they engaged in general farming and raising cattle, sheep, and hogs.
At the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, Al was so impressed by the Romney sheep exhibited by the New Zealand government that he bought the sheep at the close of the show. Using these Romneys and some registered Bullard Rambouillets, he embarked on developing the Romeldale breed. He devoted the rest of his life to perfecting the breed to his personal specifications with particular attention to quality wool production. Fleeces exhibited by him won the Grand Champion Fleece at the California Wool Show and at other fairs on numerous occasions.
Al Spencer was called upon to serve California in numerous capacities, including: chairman of the Transportation Committee of the California Wool Growers Association in 1922 to facilitate shipment of lambs to Eastern markets; member of the Governor's committee to control a foot and mouth disease outbreak in 1924; chairman of the State Reclamation Board; member of the State Board of Agriculture under two governors; and member of the State Board of Forestry and Range Advisory Committee.
He was particularly active in the California Wool Growers Association, serving as president from 1922 to 1926 and again in the critical times of the 1930's. He was an Honorary Life Member and a member of the Board of Directors for the balance of his life.
Al's service to the livestock industry of California was recognized in 1950 by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce when he was named as the first "Livestock Man of the Year". The award stated, in part, "It has been through his patience and constant work that we now have a sound program of range improvement in the state."