The Kansas Livestock Association’s Young Stockmen’s Academy class recently toured various segments of the beef and dairy industries in central and western Kansas. Merck Animal Health is the exclusive sponsor of the YSA program.

El Dorado Livestock Auction was the first tour stop. The group heard from co-owner Josh Mueller about the modern facility, which includes covered pens, a vet barn and, as of 2013, a new office and sale ring. More than 50,000 head of cattle are sold per year through the market. Stops also were made at Hinkson Angus near Cottonwood Falls and the Blew Partnership at Medicine Lodge.

Trey Hinkson and his father, Frank, explained how they use high-accuracy sires and cow families that combine the best of calving ease and performance with maternal efficiency and high-quality carcass traits in their Angus seedstock operation. C.J. and Russell Blew, brothers who make up the Blew Partnership, are fifth-generation ranchers. They use artificial insemination, carcass data and DNA testing to enhance the economic traits of their Red Angus-based commercial cow-calf herd.

During a tour of High Plains Ponderosa Dairy near Plains, co-owner and general manager Greg Bethard discussed the protocols used to manage 14,000 dairy cows and took the class on a tour of the facility, including the new cross-ventilated, free-stall housing barn. Reeve Cattle Company near Garden City also hosted the YSA group. Manager Keith Bryant led a tour of the feeding facility, which includes an onsite ethanol plant. The group also visited the National Beef packing plant in Dodge City.

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