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Friday, July 8, 2011

Young Stockmens Academy tours agribusiness and retail beef industry

by WLJ

The 2011 Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Young Stockmen’s Academy (YSA) gathered for its second educational tour of the year June 27-29. The group of young KLA members from across the state spent three days in Kansas City learning more about the agribusiness and retail beef industries. Vista from Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of this program.

Merck Animal Health hosted the class at its office in De Soto, KS. Company officials gave participants an inside look at the animal health industry and explained how this segment of agribusiness is working to help beef producers improve efficiency in food production.

To gain a better understanding of the link between the processing plant and the consumer’s plate, the group toured Kansas City Steak Company and SYSCO Food Services. Both companies distribute high-end beef cuts to restaurants across the U.S. The Kansas City Steak Company also has a mailorder business and sells beef products online and through QVC, a home shopping channel. SYSCO distributes beef cuts through 86 facilities.

YSA members also saw firsthand how beef is marketed in the meatcase. Stops were made at Bichelmeyer Meats and Whole Foods Market. Bichelmeyer Meats is a family-owned business consisting of a small processing facility and butcher shop, which offers fresh beef and pork to customers daily.

In addition, the class had the chance to visit with consumers about the beef while distributing samples at Price Chopper and Hen House grocery stores. These young producers answered customer questions about animal health, beef nutrition and cooking methods.

During the three-day tour, the group also heard from staff at Bartlett and Company about risk management and visited the Kansas City Board of Trade and the Kansas Bioscience Authority. — WLJ

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