Leadership Conference A Learning Experience For Participants

January 26, 2024

(TOPEKA) – Beef industry stakeholders from across the state participated in the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Leadership Conference January 22-23 in Topeka. The two-day educational seminar exposed attendees to services provided by KLA, advocacy training and the legislative process.               

While at the Capitol, the group attended a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting and heard from KLA lobbyists on how they protect member interests during the legislative process. During the committee meeting, participants were able to witness KLA lobbyists introduce a bill for consideration, providing insight to how issues travel from members to policymakers in the state’s capital. Conference attendees also had a chance to meet with their respective legislators to discuss important beef and dairy industry issues.               

As part of the conference, members took part in an interactive advocacy training session led by KLA staff and WIBW-Topeka farm broadcaster Greg Akagi. Participants were given an overview of the importance of being an industry advocate and the various media outlets available to help them reach consumers who want to know more about how and where their food is produced.              

In addition, the Kansas Beef Council provided information on how checkoff dollars are used to promote beef, support important industry research and educate consumers about the benefits of including beef in a healthy diet.              

This year’s class brings the total number of graduates of the leadership training program to 728 since it was initiated in 1981. Sponsors of the biennial event included the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, Pinion and the Kansas Livestock Foundation.             

KLA is a trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its more than 5,700 members.   


Pictured are (back row, L to R) Luke Schneider, Saint John; Luke Higgason, Great Bend; Dusty Albright, Anthony; Brian Bartels, Cottonwood Falls; Dennis Roddy, Alta Vista; Patrick Anthony, Garden City; Clayton Cross, Lewis; Trevor Johnson, Manhattan; (front row, L to R) Wyatt Schroeder, Brookville; Brian Harris, Abilene; Kaitlyn Skaggs, Perry; Rita Council, Great Bend; Anna Ideus, Manhattan; Philip Weltmer, KLA president, Smith Center; and Chad Banks, Medicine Lodge.