The 2011 KLA Young Stockmen's Academy gathered for its second educational tour of the year June 27-29. The group of young KLA members from across the state spent three days in Kansas City learning more about the agribusiness and retail beef industries. Vista from Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of this program.
Merck Animal Health hosted the class at its office in De Soto. Company officials gave participants an inside look at the animal health industry and explained how this segment of agribusiness is working to help beef producers improve efficiency in food production.
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 Food Services. Both companies distribute high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. The Kansas City Steak Company also has a mail-order business and sells beef products online and through QVC, a home shopping channel. SYSCO distributes beef cuts through 86 facilities, grossing more from boxed beef sales than any other item sold.
YSA members also saw firsthand how beef is marketed in the meatcase. Stops were made at Bichelmeyer Meats and Whole Foods Market. Bichelmeyer Meats is a family-owned business consisting of a small processing facility and butcher shop, which offers fresh beef and pork to customers daily. Whole Foods sells a variety of beef products, with a focus on natural and organic.
In addition, the class had the chance to visit with consumers about the beef they produce on their farms and ranches while distributing samples at Price Chopper and Hen House grocery stores. These young producers answered customer questions about animal health, beef nutrition and cooking methods.
During the three-day tour, the group also heard from staff at Bartlett and Company about risk management in the cattle and grain industries and visited the Kansas City Board of Trade and the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
The 2011 class includes Austin Cline, Frankfort; Zach Conine, Scott City; Jessica Ebert, Tescott; Kendra Frasier, Manhattan; Eric Gleue, Le Roy; Chelsea Good, Topeka; Randy Hiesterman, Palmer; Ashley Judd, Quenemo; Karaline Mayer, Paxico; Brock Miller, Leoti; Daniel Mushrush, Strong City; Cody Palen, Dodge City; Anthony Rathbun, Geneseo; Cade Rensink, Ada; Kendra Riley, Manhattan; Abe Shanholtzer, Wamego; Carlie Spiker, Garden City; Raymond Sproul, Sedan; Jennifer Wellnitz, Neosho Rapids; Clay Wilson, Council Grove; Katie Yunghans, Leavenworth.
The third installment of the YSA class will be held in October. Members will tour Kansas beef operations to gain a better understanding of each industry segment.
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.