Mike Drinnin’s world has revolved around cattle pretty much his entire life. 

“I’ve been involved in cattle really since I can remember,” the 1980 Lakeview High School graduate said. “Basically, I just grew up around it. I’ve been in it all my life.”

Now, the Columbus native will be helping to represent the cattle industry in Nebraska. On Dec. 4, Drinnin was installed as president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association at its annual convention in Kearney.

The Nebraska Cattlemen Association represents the states beef cattle industry. This includes cattle breeders, ranchers, feeders and of course, cattlemen. Its headquarters is located in Lincoln and the organization has about 3,500 members statewide.

“It’s exciting. It’ll be busy, but it’s also exciting,” Drinnin said of the new undertaking. “Our job is made pretty easy because we've got excellent staff, and everybody on that staff has a job and they do it real well. So I’m very thankful for the staff that we have.”

Before becoming president, Drinnin spent a year serving as vice president and then another as president-elect. Once his one-year term in office is up, he'll continue to serve on the organization's board for a time as immediate past-president, he said.

Drinnin said a big issue the organization will be focusing on is the adjustment of hours of service for livestock haulers. Another priority, he said, is relief or reform of high property taxes.

“Obviously, the big issue in the state is property tax. And that's a big focus for our association and for our members.” Drinnin said. “So that’s a big issue as far as what we're working on with the cattlemen.”

Following high school graduation, the father of three studied Automotive Engineer Technology at Central Community College. For more than 30 years he has operated Drinnin Feedlots in Columbus. For a time, he served as the president of the Platte Valley Cattlemen Association.

Talia Goes, a communications coordinator with the NCA, said Drinnin will make an excellent president. She said he’s the kind of guy who has a passion for learning and an abundance of practical experience.

“Mike has a very thorough knowledge of the industry and he's very, very engaged,” Goes said. “It’s always good to have someone with real-life experiences.”

As it’s customary for the organization's annual mid-year conference to be held in the hometown of the current president, the next one will be held in Columbus. About 300 people from all over the state are expected to attend the event being held June 4-5 at the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Conference Center.

“So that’ll be a big event for Columbus,” Drinnin said.

Eric Schucht is a report for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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