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Young producers meet in Topeka
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The 2017 YSA class includes (standing, l to r) Tony Winkler, Ulysses; Blake Jones, Waverly; Colby Brownrigg, Welda; Luke Knight, Lyons; Jake Renner, Kingman; Heath Bergkamp, Arlington; Garrett Ochs, Jetmore; Derek Puthoff, Kinsley; Joseph Hubbard, Houston Lake, Mo.; Dustin Nattier, Newton; Russell Rezac, Emmett; Klay OBrien, Hepler; Dustin Wootten, Oskaloosa; and Kade Baumann, Kensington; (seated L to R) Kashly Schweer, Ellsworth; Kayla Josefiak, Burdett; Cassie Kniebel, White City; Katelyn Meiwes, Moran; Kayla Sandoval, Ashland; and Sarah Struthers, Milton.

A group of 20 young ranchers from across the state met on Feb. 13-14, in Topeka for the first installment of the 2017 Kansas Livestock Association Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA). Merck Animal Health is again partnering with the association to host these members for an in-depth look into KLA and the beef industry. A series of four seminars will be held throughout the year in various locations in Kansas.
During this session, attendees learned about the array of member services provided by KLA, heard about the importance of being an advocate for the livestock industry, saw KLA lobbyists in action at the state Capitol and took part in the KLA Legislative Meeting. As part of an interactive training session led by KLA staff, White City rancher and beef advocate Debbie Lyons-Blythe and WIBW-Topeka farm broadcasters Kelly Lenz and Greg Akagi, the group was given an overview of various media outlets available to help tell the beef production story. Lyons-Blythe shared how she has implemented advocacy into her daily routine through the use of her blog, “Kids, Cows and Grass.” For hands-on training, they participated in a social media activity and mock radio talk show. In addition, YSA members attended a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting at the Capitol and participated in a financial planning seminar conducted by K-Coe Isom.
Members of the 2017 YSA class are Kaid Baumann, Kensington; Heath Bergkamp, Arlington; Colby Brownrigg, Welda; Joseph Hubbard, Houston Lake, Mo.; Blake Jones, Waverly; Kayla Josefiak, Burdett; Cassie Kniebel, White City; Luke Knight, Lyons; Katelyn Meiwes, Moran; Dustin Nattier, Newton; Klay O’Brien, Hepler; Garrett Ochs, Jetmore; Derek Puthoff, Kinsley; Jake Renner, Kingman; Russell Rezac, Emmett; Kayla Sandoval, Ashland; Kashly Schweer, Ellsworth; Sarah Struthers, Milton; Tony Winkler, Ulysses; and Dustin Wootten, Oskaloosa.
The second session for the YSA class will be held in May. Members will have the opportunity to learn more about the agribusiness and retail beef industries. More information about YSA can be found at
KLA is a trade organization representing the business interests of members at both the state and federal levels. Voluntary dues dollars paid by producers are used for programs that benefit KLA members in the areas of legislative representation, regulatory assistance, legal troubleshooting, communications and the advancement of youth.