This marks the 11th year for the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA). The class of 20 graduated December 2 at the close of the KLA Convention. Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of the program. This class brings the total number of YSA alumni to 220.

Attending the KLA Convention was the final session for this year’s class and provided these young producers the opportunity to interact with KLA members from across the state and gain more industry knowledge. YSA members got a firsthand look at the inner workings of the association by attending the KLA Chairmen’s Circle meeting. The group also took part in the policy-making process by attending committee and council meetings where members discussed issues affecting their business interests, including noxious weeds, livestock price reporting, water appropriation and motor vehicle regulations. Immediately prior to the convention, the YSA class received their Masters of Beef Advocacy degrees, following an in-depth spokesperson training session with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Senior Executive Director of Communications Daren Williams.

During their first session in Topeka last February, attendees were exposed to advocacy training, the legislative process and services provided by KLA and NCBA. The second installment took the group to Kansas City in May, where they learned about the agribusiness and retail beef industries. YSA members visited central and western Kansas in September to tour beef and dairy operations representing various segments of each industry.

The 2016 class includes Dustin Aherin, Manhattan; Wyatt Bechtel, Eureka; Andy Bloom, Wetmore; Katelyn Brockus, Washington; Justin Clark, Toronto; Kassie Curran, Wichita; Sadie Derstein, Kismet; Shelby Hill, Prairie Village; Clare Horne, Lyons; Trey Lohman, Leavenworth; Colton Lynch, Garden City; Kenton Mangan, Tribune; Joe Meiwes, Moran; Macey Mueller, Halstead; Jed Ricke, Pratt; Barrett Smith, Macksville; Chance Steele, Sabetha; Erik Steffens, Dighton; Nolan Wasson, Selden; and Jared Whitcomb, Cottonwood Falls.

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.