YSA Class Tours Agribusiness, Retail Beef Industries

May 9, 2019

Scott Bormann (standing), Merck vice president of U.S. commercial operations, visits with the class.Also pictured are YSA members Garrett McKinney (left), Walton, and Bryce Barnett, Muscotah.

Beef producers from across the state participating in this year’s KLA Young Stockmen’s Academy gathered in the Kansas City area this week. The class of 20 spent three days learning more about the animal health industry and how beef is marketed to consumers.

Merck Animal Health, the exclusive sponsor of the program, hosted the group at its office in DeSoto. Merck staff gave attendees an overview of the animal health industry, provided a tour of their research facilities 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 toured Kansas City Steak Company and SYSCO. Both companies distribute high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. Kansas City Steak Company also has a mail-order business. The class also visited Bichelmeyer Meats and Whole Foods Market to get a firsthand look at how beef is marketed in the meatcase. The Bichelmeyer family, which are KLA members, has been providing hand-cut meat to consumers for more than 70 years. They have their own harvesting facility, where they process cattle and hogs each week.

While distributing top sirloin samples at two Hen House grocery store locations, YSA members had the chance to visit with consumers about the beef they produce. These young ranchers answered questions about proper cooking methods and how cattle are raised. 

In addition, the class visited the Valley Oaks feedlot and processing facility. The cattle are housed under one roof and are kept cool with the help of unique engineering and the use of big fans. Valley Oaks also has a registered Angus cowherd and a commercial cattle operation. 

The class will meet again in September to tour Kansas beef and dairy operations.