The second installment of the 2012 Kansas Livestock Association Young Stockmen's Academy was held in the Kansas City area June 25-27. The group spent three days learning about the agribusiness and retail beef industries.
Merck Animal Health hosted the class of 20 young members from across the state at its office in DeSoto. Vista from Merck is the exclusive sponsor of the YSA program. Merck Senior Marketing Manager Jeff Baxter discussed with the group challenges facing the livestock industry today and in the future, including providing substantially more food to feed a population that is expected to double by 2050.
The group toured SYSCO Food Services, Bichelmeyer Meats and Whole Foods Market to gain a better understanding of the link between the processing plant and the consumer's plate. SYSCO distributes high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. 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 of the flat iron and tri-tip at Hen House and two HyVee grocery store locations. The young producers answered questions about animal health, beef nutrition and cooking methods.
During the three-day tour, the group also visited the Applebee's corporate offices to learn how they market beef in their 2,000 restaurants and heard from staff at Bartlett and Company about risk management in the cattle and grain industries.
The 2012 class includes Shea Baird, Levant; Beau Beyer, Le Roy; Tyler Breeden, Quinter; Brett Brownback, Centerville; Brandi Buzzard, Manhattan; Lance Cline, Onaga; Bo Downing, Longton; Calder Keller, Oakley; Tyler Leonhard, Manhattan; Leanne Litton, Beloit; Drew Obermeyer, Marysville; Kyra O' Brien, Hepler; Alycia Penewit, Satanta; Wyatt Rundel, Wichita; Garrett Schultz, Manhattan; Nathan Simmons, Hesston; Sam States, Logan; Kiley Stinson, Allen; Andrea Stroberg, Manhattan; and Chelsea Townsend, Larned.
The third installment of the YSA class will be held in October. Members will tour Kansas beef and dairy 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.