Eighteenth YSA Class Gathers For First Session

February 16, 2024

(TOPEKA) – Young cattlemen and women from across the state met in Topeka February 12-13 for the first installment of the 2024 Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA). Merck Animal Health remains the exclusive program sponsor, partnering with KLA to host members for an in-depth look into the association and the beef industry. A series of four seminars will be held throughout the year in various locations across Kansas.

During their first session, the 20 attendees learned about the array of member services provided by KLA, heard about the importance of being an advocate for the livestock industry, saw KLA lobbyists in action at the state Capitol and took part in the annual KLA Legislative Meeting. Additionally, YSA members attended a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting at the Capitol and participated in a financial planning seminar conducted by Pinion.    As part of an interactive session led by KLA communications staff, Americus beef producer and industry advocate Jacquelyne Leffler and WIBW-Topeka farm broadcasters Greg Akagi and Slade Wiley, the group was given an overview of various outlets available to help tell the beef production story, as well as how to handle media inquiries. Leffler shared how her experiences led her to become an advocate for the industry and the importance of sharing beef’s message.

Members of the 2024 YSA class are Ethan Bellar, Howard; Michaela Bethard, Kismet; Coulter Croft, Copeland; Nicole DeMars, Clay Center; Drake Dieker, Westphalia; James Fitzsimmons, Cunningham; Sam Gleason, Maple Hill; Chisum Grund, Wallace; Kaitlin Houck, Allen; Ryan Koons, Buffalo, OK; Jackie Neville, Andale; Ashlynn Remington, Meade; Jayden Rios, Garden City; Ty Ruckert, Manhattan; Grant Sardella, Cimarron; Libby Schneider, Logan; Tyler Spore, Great Bend; Trenton Turner, Hope, Brendan Whipple, Kismet; and Grady Woodard, Lyons.

The second YSA session will be held in May. Members will have the opportunity to learn more about agribusiness and beef retail industries in the Kansas City area.

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. 


Pictured are (back row, left to right) Coulter Croft, Copeland; Ashlynn Remington, Meade; Michaela Bethard, Kismet; Ryan Koons, Buffalo, OK; Grady Woodard, Lyons; Drake Dieker, Westphalia; Trenton Turner, Hope; Nicole DeMars, Clay Center; James Fitzsimmons, Cunningham; Jayden Rios, Garden City; Ty Ruckert, Manhattan; Sam Gleason, Maple Hill; Kaitlin Houck, Allen; (front row, left to right) Tyler Spore, Great Bend; Jackie Neville, Andale; Grant Sardella, Cimarron; Ethan Bellar, Howard; Libby Schneider, Logan; Chisum Grund, Wallace; and Brendan Whipple, Kismet.