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Smith graduates from Young Stockmen’s Academy
Young Stockmen’s Academy graduate Garret Smith, second from right, is pictures with Merck Animal Health representatives Jenna Goetzmann, Tim Parks and Cody Doubet.

TOPEKA — Garret Smith of Great Bend was one of 20 Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) members from across the state to graduate from the Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA). Merck Animal Health partnered with KLA to host members in their 20s for a series of four seminars throughout 2023. This class brings the total number of YSA graduates to 335.

Attending the KLA Convention was the final session for this year’s class. The three-day event provided participants the opportunity to gain additional industry knowledge and interact with other KLA members from across the state. YSA members got a firsthand look at the inner workings of the association by attending the KLA Chairmen’s Circle meeting. The group also participated in the policy-making process by attending committee and council meetings. 

During their first session in Topeka in February, attendees were exposed to advocacy training, the legislative process and services provided by KLA and NCBA. YSA members headed to Kansas City in May, where they learned about beef marketing and agribusiness. The third installment allowed the group to tour beef and dairy operations in central and southwestern Kansas representing various segments of each industry in September. 

Other members of the 2023 class are Jack Adams, Plains; Erica Auchard, Cimarron; Cole Baumgartner, Westmoreland; Tara Jo Bina, Halstead; Eric Blythe, White City; Allison Castilleja, Satanta; Emily Grund, Wamego; Logan Hoobler, Maple Hill; Cody Howell, Chanute; Cooper Imthurn, Maple Hill; Kyler Jost, Spring Hill; Arlan Newby, Haven; Garret Otter, Almena; Cole Renner, Monument; Leslie Smith, Ashland; Bubba Sullivan, Amarillo, Texas; Brody Thayer, LaCygne; Jose Woolfolk, Hugoton; and Jay Ziegelmeier, Hays.  

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.