NIAA’s Third Cohort of Animal Agriculture Leaders Engage in Comprehensive Training in Topeka, Kansas

By Trish Svoboda

The third cohort of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders gathered for their third in-person leadership training session in Topeka, Kansas.

During their time in the Topeka area, the leaders learned from different industry experts. Dave Dreiling, founder and owner of Booth Creek Wagyu, spoke about his ranch’s story, the reasons and methods behind raising Wagyu cattle, creating a healthy business culture, and entrepreneurship. Snyder Ranches shared their experiences with raising sheep, including different types of sheep farming and their efforts with meat sheep. TC Turner, known as Red Beard Butcher, led a discussion and butchery demonstration on a Snyder Ranches lamb, with several Cohort members participating. Derek Thompson from NextGen Cattle Co. hosted the group, discussing leadership and business development. Joe Epperly, Chief Genetics Officer, along with Cohort 3 member Johnna Granville, outlined ABS Global’s work in genetics and her role in the company. Pitmaster Andy Groneman from Smoke on Wheels showcased his culinary skills using the butchered lamb from the demonstration, explaining how to utilize the carcass for a Tip-to-Tail dinner. The session concluded with Kerryann Kocher, CEO of Vytelle, who discussed leadership principles, her journey as an entrepreneurial leader, and building high-level, international teams.

In January, NIAA announced the selected participants in the third cohort of the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders. Sponsored by the United Soybean Board and Farm Credit, this leadership training course was created by NIAA to empower animal agriculture professionals by strengthening previous leadership development experiences and fostering collaboration with peers across the industry.

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