Harvey McDougal was born on a farm at Lewiston, Minnesota. From boyhood he worked with livestock. His skill at conditioning and fitting cattle for purebred breeders helped pay expences while he attended the University of Minnesota. He served in the Navy during World War I.
Harvey became a cattle buyer for Swift and Company in 1926 in South St. Paul. Shortly after his marriage to Erma Summerville, in 1928, Swift sent him to Ogden, Utah, as manager of their Stockgrower Feed Lot. In 1942 he took over management of Fontana Farms Company's cattle operations at Collinsville, California. He was president of Fontana Farms from 1944 until they liquidated in 1950.
Harvey organized the McDougal Livestock Company in 1950, buying Fontana Farms' Collinsville property. The Nevada Nile Ranch at Lovelock, Nevada was bought in 1967 and the Collinsville property sold.
Harvey will be remembered for his integrity and ability. He helped found the California Cattle Feeders Association and the California Beef Council and he helped initiate the Carcass Cutout Contest at the Cow Palace fall show. He was president and director of the California Cattlemen's Association, California Hereford Association, and Rio Vista Rotary Club; vice-president and director of the American National Cattlemen's Association; director of the California Cattle Feeder's Association and Solano County Fair; and first chairman of the California Beef Council.
Harvey kept abreast of economic changes occurring in the production and marketing of beef and was aware early on of the rising demand for a leaner animal that yielded more choice edible meat. He was highly regarded as a cattle judge throughout the west and particularly exjoyed judging for 4-H and FFA. He encouraged young people with advice and financial assistance. Appreciative youth made him an honorary member of both 4-H and FFA. In 1969 he was named "Friend of 4-H".
Several months after his death, the California Cattlemen's Association established a perpetual trophy in his name to be awarded to the Grand Champion Market Steer at the Cow Palace.