Forty students from six states gathered on the Kansas State University campus in June to gain livestock knowledge and leadership skills. These participants comprised two 20-person cohorts of the seventh annual K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy (KASLA) June 10-13 and June 17-20 in Manhattan, Kansas.

Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in this field.

This year’s class included: Natalie Allen, Marceline, Missouri; Ethan Bellar, Howard; Molly Bertz, Mayview, Missouri; Brianna Cattrel, Circleville; Jenna Chance, Lebanon, Indiana; Lance Coe, Soldier; Lindsey Dankenbring, Marysville; Megan Davis, Princeton; Samuel Dobbins, Emporia; Emily Elfers, Saint Francis; Kaci Foraker, Burrton; Kayley Geesling, Turon; Cade Hibdon, Princeton; Sydney Hoffman, Archie, Missouri; Shiani Hughes, Ellinwood; Trent Johnson, Moran; Randal Karr, Emporia; Cameron Kilgore, Atchison; Valerie Klassen, Lehigh;  Haley Lindell, Leonardville; Jonathan Lock, Garden City; Brady McComb, Pratt; Mallory Meek, Spring Hill; Emily Meinhardt, Marysville; Elliot Merck, Rose Hill; Dixie Miller, Fayetteville, Arkansas; Joel Nelson, Soldier; Kyndall Norris, Riley; Brandi Peverley, Wamego; SaRae Roberts, Hillsboro; Cassidy Schlessiger, Ellinwood; Oliver Schmitz, Axtell; Tanner Sipes, Stafford; Riley Sleichter, Abilene; Kendra Snyder, Lena, Illinois; Ethan Sylvester, Wamego; Mason Tarr, Sanger, California; Shelby Werth, Ellis; Tate Wickstrum, Olsburg; and Madelynn Yalowitz, Louisburg.

During their time at the KASLA, students participated in interactive leadership development and educational sessions led by faculty members from across the K-State campus. Participants completed the college experience by bowling at the K-State Student Union, completing the K-State Challenge Course and staying in Haymaker Hall.

The KASLA also included a full day of livestock industry tours throughout northeast Kansas, with stops including: O.H. Kruse Feed Innovation Center, Manhattan; Kansas Department of Agriculture, Manhattan; Hildebrand Farms Dairy, Junction City; Sysco Foods, Olathe; Bichelmeyer Meats, Kansas City; and American Royal, Kansas City. They also enjoyed tours of university farms and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

For their final project, the students were divided into groups during the week to focus on current issues affecting the livestock industry. Faculty mentors from the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry assisted each group. Using information they learned throughout the academy, the groups were asked to present their subject as part of the closing reception on the final day. About 100 family, friends and members of the K-State community gathered each week for the closing reception to honor the graduates and hear their thoughts on these important livestock issues.

You can find out more information about the academy by visiting Youth Livestock Program. For questions, contact academy director Sharon Breiner at or 785-532-6533.