MANHATTAN, Kan. — Six students added to their educational experience and personal networks by visiting local and industry leaders during a July 11-13 tour of southwest Kansas as part of the K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy Premier Program.
The Premier Program provides Kansas State University students with leadership development opportunities and up-close industry insights. Through the program, the students earned a greater appreciation for large-scale agricultural production and enhanced their leadership skills through workshops and team-building activities.
“The amount of people I have met through networking and tours is astounding,” said student participant Emily Elfers. “This program has helped me grow not only as an individual, but also as a student wanting to learn through others.”
This year’s class included Elfers, who is from St. Francis; Alyssa Leslie, Inman; Brady McComb, Pratt; Joel Nelson, Soldier; Ryann Allison, Fort Scott; and Shelby Smith, Grabill, Indiana.
Each of the students completed the traditional KASLA academy, which is hosted annually in June on the K-State campus in Manhattan.
The KASLA Premier Program kicked off in Greensburg with the town’s mayor Bob Dixon and community members Stacey Barnes and Dennis McKinney, a former state treasurer. The trio discussed rural leadership with the group and shared insights on the rebuilding of their community following the devastating 2007 tornado.
From there, attendees traveled to livestock operations in southwest Kansas. The group toured Gardiner Angus Ranch, Cargill Meat Solutions, the offices of the High Plains Journal, Forget-Me-Not Farms, Finney County Feeders, Reeve Cattle Co., Hi Plains Feeds, and Hy-Plains Feedyard. They also attended a leadership discussion over dinner with Sam and Janet Hands in Garden City.
“In this program I have gained more than I thought imaginable,” Elfers said. “I not only gained the confidence to speak in front of a crowd, but also the understanding that everyone in this industry strives to help one another.”
Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in the field.
— Angie Stump Denton, K-State Research and Extension
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