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Young Stockmens Academy gathers in Topeka for first session
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Pictured (back row, l to r): Barrett Smith, Macksville; Jared Whitcomb, Cottonwood Falls; Kenton Mangan, Tribune; Nolan Wasson, Selden; Chance Steele, Sabetha; Jed Ricke, Pratt; Andy Bloom, Wetmore; Joe Meiwes, Moran; Trey Lohman, Leavenworth; Erik Steffens, Dighton; (front row, l to r) Dustin Aherin, Garden City; Wyatt Bechtel, Eureka; Macey Mueller, Halstead; Katelyn Brockus, Washington; Clare Horne, Lyons; Kassie Curran, Wichita; Shelby Hill, Overland Park; Sadie Derstein, Kismet; Justin Clark, Toronto; and Colton Lynch, Garden City.

A group of 20 young ranchers from across the state met in Topeka last week for the first installment of the 2016 KLA Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA). Merck Animal Health is 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 Natural Resources Committee meeting at the Capitol and participated in a financial planning seminar conducted by KCOE ISOM.   
Members of the 2016 YSA class are Dustin Aherin, Garden City; Wyatt Bechtel, Eureka; Andy Bloom, Wetmore; Katelyn Brockus, Washington; Justin Clark, Toronto; Kassie Curran, Wichita; Sadie Derstein, Kismet; Shelby Hill, Overland Park; Clare Horne, Lyons; Trey Lohman, Leavenworth; Colton Lynch, Garden City; Kenton Mangan, Tribune; Joe Meiwes, Moran; Macey Mueller, Halstead; Jed Ricke, Pratt; Barrett Smith, Macksville; Chance Steele, Sabetha; Erik Steffens, Dighton; Nolan Wasson, Selden; and Jared Whitcomb, Cottonwood Falls..
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.