TOPEKA – Members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) elected Jerry Kuckelman, a cattle feeder from Manhattan, as president during the group’s annual business meeting Dec. 17. The membership chose Oskaloosa rancher Phil Perry as KLA president-elect. Kuckelman and Perry will lead the 5,700-member organization during the next year.
Kuckelman is the president and chief executive officer of Innovative Livestock Services (ILS), which consists of eight feedyards in central Kansas and south central Nebraska and an extensive farming operation. He began his career as a cattle buyer for IBP, then transitioned into feedyard management where he spent 27 years, with most of that time as manager of Fairleigh Feed Yard in Scott City. Kuckelman joined ILS in early 2011 as chief operating officer.
He grew up on a diversified farm near Baileyville that involved cattle feeding, dairy and hog operations. Today, he and his wife, Linda, reside in Manhattan. The couple has three grown daughters, including Jill Miller and her husband, Justin; Amber Reynolds and her husband, Jake; and Kelsey Hess and her husband, Tyler. The Millers welcomed the family’s first grandson, Parker, in February.
He was introduced to KLA in 1985 when he was elected as Scott County KLA director. Since that time, Kuckelman has held various positions within the organization. He serves on the KLA Executive Committee and KLA Board of Directors. Kuckelman is a member of the KLA Risk Management Services Safety Committee and was chairman of the KLA Cattle Feeders Council in 2017. He also represents KLA on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Board of Directors. In addition to his service to KLA and NCBA, he currently is a member of the Livestock and Meat Industry Council.
Perry has been involved in the cattle industry for more than 40 years. He and his wife, Rhonda, own a cow-calf operation and custom preconditioning business. The bulk of the Angus-based cowherd calves in the spring. Depending on marketing opportunities, the Perrys either sell calves after weaning or retain ownership through the finishing stage, which is carried out in custom feedyards in western Kansas.
Perry grew up in Oskaloosa and he and Rhonda currently reside on land that has been in his family for six generations. They have two grown children, Nickie and Nathan, and 11 grandchildren. Nickie, her husband, Gary Johnson, and their five children live in Overland Park. Nathan, his wife, Lynn, and their six children live near Oskaloosa.
Involvement in KLA has been important to Perry throughout his 37 years of membership. He currently serves on the KLA Board of Directors and the Jefferson County KLA Committee. Perry was chairman of the KLA Stockgrowers Council in 2014 and served as Jefferson County KLA Chairman from 2012 to 2014. He also has served on the NCBA Board of Directors and is a graduate of the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Additionally, Perry is a member of the Kansas Beef Council Executive Committee and represents Kansas on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
KLA is a 5,700-member trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.