Louis Dinklage’s vision for the cattle-feeding industry helped him become one of the most well-respected cattle feeders in America. Born in 1902, Louis never could have imagined that by the late 1960’s he would be considered the country’s largest cattle feeder. He influenced both the cattle-feeding industry and the community, as he mentored many young cattle feeders, setting them on the road to success.

First exposed to the cattle industry through his father, Louis was hooked on cattle feeding from the beginning. When Louis started his operation with 25 to 30 head of cattle, he ran his first herd out on pasture, cut down green corn stalks and threw them into the pen by hand. But he always was ready for technology advances as they came along and said the biggest improvement in his lifetime was electricity in rural America. He constantly sought to improve his business and the cattle-feeding industry by determining how to tie other aspects of the industry together such as grain elevators, liquid feeds, packing facilities, banks and ranches. A pioneer of commercial cattle feeding, Louis really broke into the industry in 1923 when he established a 400-head operation close to Wisner, Neb. By the late 1930’s, he had expanded to feeding between 3,000 and 4,000 head of cattle with a scoop shovel and a team of horses.

Witnessing much change in the cattle-feeding industry, Louis helped drive much of it. He had a goal of feeding 1,000 head, but he eventually would run a feedyard with more than 65,000 cattle a year. Today near Wisner, five feedyards still operate under men who worked for, or were mentored by, Louis before he died in 1984. He also was instrumental in founding Dinklage Feedyards in western Nebraska.

Louis’ mentorship, vision and devotion to cattle feeding will be remembered forever as a marked reason eastern Nebraska has become one of the cattle-feeding hubs in the United States.

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