(TOPEKA) – Twenty-nine members from 24 Kansas counties attended the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Leadership Conference in Topeka, January 21-23. The educational event is designed to expose attendees to various aspects of beef production and marketing, the legislative process, media and services provided by KLA.
The group visited KLA headquarters and became acquainted with President Tracy Brunner of Ramona. Attendees took part in an interactive session on becoming a beef industry spokesperson presented by KLA staff and WIBW-Topeka farm broadcasters Kelly Lenz and Greg Akagi.
Participants attended a Senate Agriculture Committee meeting and some had the opportunity to meet with their respective legislators to discuss important beef industry issues. The group also toured the Capitol.
In addition, members saw various ways beef is marketed. Members toured U.S. Foodservice, participated in an interactive meal preparation course with Chef Alli Winter and heard from the kitchen manager at Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Topeka, which sells about 5,000 steaks per week.
The Kansas Beef Council (KBC) provided information on how checkoff dollars are used to develop and market new products that have helped increase beef demand. KBC staff also explained efforts to educate consumers about the benefits of eating beef.
This year's class brings the total number of graduates of the leadership training program to 570 since it was initiated in 1981. Graduates of the program include past KLA Presidents Dana Hauck, Delphos; Steve Mangan, Tribune; Larry Oltjen, Robinson; Mike Collinge, Hamilton; Terry Handke, Muscotah; Tom Toll, Lindsborg; Ron Estes, Atchison; and current KLA President Tracy Brunner.
Sponsors of the annual event included Fort Dodge Animal Health; Frontier Farm Credit; Farm Credit of Central Kansas; IMI Global; Jostens; Kennedy and Coe, LLC; and the Kansas Livestock Foundation.