Twenty students from six states gathered on the Kansas State University campus last week to gain livestock industry knowledge and develop leadership skills. These participants comprised a 20-person cohort of the eleventh annual K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy (KASLA) June 5-8 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: Cassie Allscheid, Waterloo, Illinois; Krista Allscheid, Waterloo, Illinois; Gavin Beesley, Conway Springs; Mallory Beltz, Sterling; Alicia Bohren, Longmont, Colorado; Aaron Campbell, Ottawa; Kaylee Davis, Hyannis, Nebraska; Colleen Decker, LeRoy; Kenzie Eastwood, Parker; Brooke Finnerty, Hartford; Tyler Loudon, Creston, Iowa; Kade McGinn, Sedgwick; Zach Meier, Beloit; Zach Schoelerman, Everly, Iowa; Tobyn Smith, Grabill, Indiana; Alyson Utegg, Grand Ridge, Illinois; Kaylynn Vogts, Waverly; Gracye Wilmurth, LaCygne; Madison Wooderson, Benton; and Aidan Yoho, Yates Center.

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 dining at the K-State Student Union, completing the K-State Challenge Course and staying in Ford Hall.

The KASLA also included a half day of livestock industry tours throughout northeast Kansas, with stops including: Hildebrand Farms Dairy, Junction City; Kansas Livestock Association, Topeka; Bichelmeyer Meats, Kansas City; and American Royal, Kansas City. They also enjoyed tours of university farms and animal science department facilities.

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 75 family, friends and members of the K-State community gathered for the closing reception to honor the graduates and hear their thoughts on these important livestock issues.