Young stockmen learn more about animal health, beef marketing

May 16, 2018

(TOPEKA) – Young producers from across the state recently spent three days in Kansas City learning more about the animal health industry and how beef is marketed to consumers. Merck Animal Health, exclusive sponsor of the Kansas Livestock Association Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA), kicked off the tour, which was held May 7-9, by hosting the class of 20 at its office in DeSoto. Staff from Merck gave attendees an overview of the animal health industry, provided a tour of the research farm and led a discussion on how to connect with various personality types to create strong and effective relationships. 

YSA members saw various ways beef is marketed in the meatcase while visiting Bichelmeyer Meats, The Local Pig and Whole Foods Market. The Bichelmeyer family, which is a KLA member, has been providing hand-cut meat to consumers for more than 70 years. Joe Bichelmeyer said their beef is dry-aged 14 to 21 days for added flavor and tenderness. 

A stop was made at Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), where the class toured the warehouse and coolers. AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler, serving more than 3,800 independently owned supermarkets. Beef is one of the company’s top value items sold. 

In addition, YSA members had the chance to visit with consumers about how beef is produced while distributing Kansas City strip, ribeye and roast beef samples at two Hen House grocery store locations. The young producers answered questions about animal health, production practices, beef nutrition and cooking methods. 

The group also heard from Bartlett and Company staff about risk management in the cattle and grain businesses. Kansas Beef Council staff provided information on how checkoff dollars are used to educate chefs, dietitians and consumers about how beef is raised and its nutritional value. 

Members of the 2018 YSA class are Jill Carr, Dwight; Cole Gardiner, Ashland; Ethan Horne, Marquette; Scott Jones, Melvern; Laura Klenda, Marion; Megan Larson, Olsburg; Jacquelyne Leffler, Americus; Bracey Lerner, Manhattan; Megan Ludwig, Pratt; Justin Reeve, Garden City; Marisa Rose, Russell; Jared Seeley, Eureka; Barrett Simon, Beloit; Rochelle Smart, Iola; Katelyn Steffens, Dighton; Rossie Stephens, Grinnell; Gretchen Stroberg, Hutchinson; Linden Stueve, Olpe; Ben Wheaton, Lewis; and Rusty Wiggs, Topeka. 

The class will meet again in September to tour beef and dairy operations across the state. More information about YSA can be found at 

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.