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Young stockmen learn more about beef marketing, agriusiness
Pictured are (Back Row, L to R) Clayton Jarnagin, Protection; Evan Woodbury, Quenemo; Bryce Barnett, Muscotah; Reed Koop, Abilene; Taylor Hughes, Pratt; (Middle Row, L to R) Carl Clawson, Ulysses; Cami Roth, Sterling; Hannah Brass, Medicine Lodge; Jamie Holeman, Bronson; Garrett McKinney, Walton; Patrick Turner, Ingalls; (Front Row, L to R) Clinton Laflin, Russell; Thomas Thayer, LaCygne; Ashley Fitzsimmons, Pratt; Heather Gibson, Garden City; Dalton Rutledge, Plains; Grace Hammer, Sharon Spring

TOPEKA – Beef producers from across the state participating in this year’s Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) gathered in the Kansas City area May 6-8. The class of 20 spent three days learning more about agribusiness and how beef is marketed to consumers. 

Merck Animal Health, the exclusive sponsor of the YSA program, hosted the group at its office in DeSoto. Merck staff gave attendees an overview of the animal health industry, provided a tour of their research facilities and led a discussion on how to connect with others based on various personality types to create strong and effective relationships.

To gain a better understanding of the link between the processing plant and the consumer’s plate, the group toured Kansas City Steak Company and SYSCO. Both companies distribute high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. Kansas City Steak Company also has a mail-order business. The class visited Bichelmeyer Meats and Whole Foods Market to get a firsthand look at how beef is marketed in the meatcase. The Bichelmeyer family, which are KLA members, has been providing hand-cut meat to consumers for more than 70 years. 

While distributing top sirloin samples at two Hen House grocery store locations, YSA members had the chance to visit with consumers about the beef they produce. The young ranchers answered questions about proper cooking methods and how cattle are raised. 

 In addition, the class visited the Valley Oaks feedlot and processing facility. The cattle are housed under one roof and are kept cool with the help of unique engineering and the use of big fans. Valley Oaks also has a registered Angus cowherd and a commercial cattle operation.    

Members of the 2019 YSA class are Bryce Barnett, Muscotah, Hannah Brass, Medicine Lodge; Carl Clawson, Ulysses; Ashley Fitzsimmons, Pratt; Heather Gibson, Garden City; Grace Hammer, Sharon Springs; Jamie Holeman, Bronson; Taylor Hughes, Pratt; Clayton Jarnagin, Protection; Reed Koop, Abilene; Clinton Laflin, Russell; Socorro Martinez, Liberal; Garrett McKinney, Walton; Michaela Peterson, Dodge City; Cami Roth, Sterling; Dalton Rutledge, Plains; Jessalyn Strahm, Sabetha; Thomas Thayer, LaCygne; Patrick Turner, Ingalls; and Evan Woodbury, Quenemo.  

The class will meet again in September to tour beef and dairy operations across the state. 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.