(TOPEKA) – The third installment of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen's Academy (YSA) was held September 16-18. The group of 20 young producers spent three days touring various segments of the beef and dairy industries in central and western Kansas. Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of the YSA program.
El Dorado Livestock Auction was the first tour stop. The group heard from co-owner Josh Mueller about the modern facility, where more than 50,000 head of cattle are sold per year. During a stop near Cottonwood Falls, Trey and Frank Hinkson explained how they use high-accuracy sires and cow families that combine the best of calving ease and performance with maternal efficiency and high-quality carcass traits on their seedstock operation. C.J. and Russell Blew, brothers who make up the Blew Partnership, hosted the group on their ranch near Medicine Lodge. They use artificial insemination, carcass data and DNA testing to enhance the economic traits of their Red Angus-based commercial cowherd. In addition, the Blews focus a great deal of time on environmental stewardship, including implementing more than 100,000 feet of water line on their Barber County ranch, along with numerous stock water sites, several reservoir tanks and miles of cross-fencing to create rotational grazing paddocks.
During a tour of High Plains Ponderosa Dairy near Plains, co-owner and general manager Greg Bethard discussed the protocols used to manage their dairy cow herd and took the class on a tour of the facility, including the new cross-ventilated, free-stall housing barn. Reeve Cattle Company near Garden City also hosted the YSA group. Manager Keith Bryant took the class on a tour of the feeding facility, which also includes an onsite ethanol plant. In addition, the group toured the National Beef packing plant in Dodge City.
Members of the 2019 YSA class are Bryce Barnett, Muscotah, Hannah Brass, Medicine Lodge; Carl Clawson, Ulysses; Ashley Fitzsimmons, Pratt; Heather Gibson, Satanta; Grace Hammer, Sharon Springs; Jamie Holeman, Bronson; Taylor Hughes, Pratt; Clayton Jarnagin, Protection; Reed Koop, Abilene; Clinton Laflin, Russell; Socorro Martinez, Liberal; Garrett McKinney, Walton; Michaela Peterson, Dodge City; Cami Roth, Sterling; Dalton Rutledge, Plains; Jessalyn Strahm, Sabetha; Thomas Thayer, LaCygne; Patrick Turner, Ingalls; and Evan Woodbury, Quenemo.
The 2019 YSA class will gather for their final session at the KLA Convention December 4-6 in Wichita. More information about YSA can be found here.
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.