TOPEKA — Beef producers from across the state participating in this year’s Kansas Livestock Association’s Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) gathered in the Kansas City area September 20-22. The class spent three days learning more about the agribusiness and retail beef industries.
Merck Animal Health, the exclusive sponsor of the program, met with the group on the first day of the session. Merck staff gave attendees an overview of the animal health industry 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 went to Cosentino’s Market, Hen House Market and Whole Foods Market, where they toured the meatcase and learned more about how customers make meat buying decisions. The class also visited Bichelmeyer Meats and Golden Belt Beef, both family-owned retail meat shops. Throughout the tours, YSA members learned beef still is the number one protein purchased in-store, with the filet being the best-selling cut.
During a stop at the Johnson County Community College Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, Chef Jerry Marcellus discussed how their curriculum focuses on training the next generation of chefs. He said students in the program learn about a wide range of topics from foodservice to finance to team building. The class toured the five culinary labs, innovation kitchen and pastry kitchen. Chef Marcellus also highlighted the college’s important relationship with the Kansas Beef Council (KBC) and how the partnership has helped educate students about beef and how it is produced.
KBC Director of Marketing Sharla Huseman and KBC Director of Nutrition Abby Heidari explained to the class how they establish relationships with key influencers, such as chefs, dietitians and educators, in order to share the beef message. KBC Director of Communications Scott Stebner showcased KBC’s work in creating quick, easy recipes families can make with 10 ingredients or fewer. Stebner told the group the videos have been viewed more than 4 million times over the last four years through YouTube, Instagram and Google advertisements.
Members of the 2021 class are Brooke Boulware, Scott City; Brian Carlton, Larned; Clara Cross, Salina; Cayden Daily, Great Bend; Matthew Harrison, White City; Julie Hiesterman, Palmer; Josh Johnson, St. Francis; Trent Johnson, Fort Scott; Clayton Kershner, Rush Center; Colton Lowry, Almena; Chris Mushrush, Elmdale; Derek Neal, Montezuma; Darcy Reeve, Maize; Matt Rezac, Onaga; Audrey Schultz, Andover; Justin Shields, Colby; and Brandt Skinner, Weatherford, OK.
The final session for the YSA class will be held in December. Members will have the opportunity to learn more about the policy process at the KLA Annual Convention and Trade Show December 1-3. More information about YSA can be found at www.kla.org.
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.
— Kansas Livestock Association
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