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Young Stockmen tour industry in Kansas City area
Pictured are (front row, l to r) Ty Ruckert, Manhattan; Michaela Bethard, Kismet; Kaitlin Houck, Allen; Nicole DeMars, Clay Center; Sam Gleason, Maple Hill; James Fitzsimmons, Cunningham; Ashlynn Remington, Meade; Drake Dieker, Westphalia; Jackie Neville, Andale; (back row, L to R) Tyler Spore, Great Bend; Grady Woodard, Lyons; Brendan Whipple, Nenzel, Neb.; Libby Schneider, Logan; Grant Sardella, Cimarron; Ryan Koons, Buffalo, Okla.; Chisum Grund, Wallace; Ethan Bellar, Howard; Trenton Turner, Hope; Coulter Croft, Copeland; and Jayden Rios, Kingman.

TOPEKA — The 2024 Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) met in the Kansas City area May 6-8 for their second seminar of the year. Class members from across the state spent three days learning more about the beef and dairy industries and connecting with consumers. 

Merck Animal Health, the exclusive sponsor of the program, hosted the class at their Lawrence and De Soto facilities. Staff provided an overview of the animal health industry, discussed research on animal health products and gave a tour of their research farm and one of their labs. 

Kansas Beef Council Director of Nutrition Abby Heidari and Communications Coordinator Grace Jacobson visited with YSA about connecting with consumers on the benefits of beef in the diet, both in person and through the use of social media channels.

Bichelmeyer Meats, Dairy Farmers of America, Hiland Dairy and National Beef Leathers opened their doors to the group for tours and provided insight into how their respective businesses operate to serve their customers and members. The class also spent time at two Hy-Vee grocery store locations preparing and serving Kansas City strip steak samples while engaging with consumers about cooking beef and how cattle are raised. The American Royal hosted the class for a discussion on their efforts to connect the general public with agriculture and plans for the new complex in Wyandotte County. Additionally, YSA members visited Whole Foods Market and Booth Creek Wagyu where they learned more about marketing beef to niche audiences. 

Members of the 2024 YSA class are Ethan Bellar, Howard; Michaela Bethard, Kismet; Coulter Croft, Copeland; Nicole DeMars, Clay Center; Drake Dieker, Westphalia; James Fitzsimmons, Cunningham; Sam Gleason, Maple Hill; Chisum Grund, Wallace; Kaitlin Houck, Allen; Ryan Koons, Buffalo, Okla.; Jackie Neville, Andale; Ashlynn Remington, Meade; Jayden Rios, Kingman; Ty Ruckert, Manhattan; Grant Sardella, Cimarron; Libby Schneider, Logan; Tyler Spore, Great Bend; Trenton Turner, Hope, Brendan Whipple, Nenzel, Neb.; and Grady Woodard, Lyons.

YSA will meet for their third gathering, a tour of central and western Kansas beef and dairy operations, in mid-September.

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.