Don Hotchkiss grew up in Lake County, Oregon, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science at Oregon State University in 1941. He has been very involved with OSU and the state of Oregon throughout his lifetime. He has been presidentof the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, as well as the Lake County Stock Growers; he was on the Bureau of Land Management advisory board; is a Diamond Pioneer award recipient, and has been inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame. He has served as a Harvey Ranch board member, and chaired the ranch advising committee. Don was a bank loan officer for South Eastern Oregon First Interstate Bank. He served on the advisory board for Lake County Extension Service and was instrumental on at least two occasions in maintaining a Lake County extension presence.