(TOPEKA) – Fifteen members from across Kansas attended the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Leadership Conference in Topeka, January 19-21. The educational event is designed to expose attendees to various aspects of beef marketing, the legislative process, media and services provided by KLA.
The group visited KLA headquarters and became acquainted with President Todd Allen of Wichita. 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 met with Kansas Department of Health and Environment Section Chief Terry Medley to discuss the government's role in environmental issues.
In addition, members saw various ways beef is marketed. The group 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. Texas Roadhouse sells about 5,000 steaks per week at this location.
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 585 since it was initiated in 1981. Graduates of the program include past KLA Presidents Steve Mangan, Tribune; Larry Oltjen, Robinson; Mike Collinge, Hamilton; Terry Handke, Muscotah; Tom Toll, Lindsborg; Ron Estes, Atchison; and Immediate Past President Tracy Brunner, Ramona.
Sponsors of the annual event included Fort Dodge Animal Health; Farm Credit Associations of Kansas; Jostens; Kennedy and Coe, LLC; and the Kansas Livestock Foundation.