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Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Food and agricultural leaders help grow OSU's food-processing center

A group of food and agricultural leaders is leading the charge to assist Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center meet the needs of Oklahoma’s diversified food industry.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

(Stillwater, Okla. – July 19, 2016) A group of food and agricultural leaders is leading the charge to assist Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center meet the needs of Oklahoma’s diversified food industry.

“FAPC is fortunate to have an advisory board that is invested in the future of the center,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “The committee members understand the importance of FAPC and are continuously looking for ways the center can grow and better serve the food and agricultural industries.”

More than 600 companies make up Oklahoma’s food-processing industry, which accounts for almost 2 percent of the state's employment base, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Small companies make up the majority of the state’s food industry.

FAPC’s Industry Advisory Committee members, representing food and agricultural leaders around the state, met June 2 at the center to hear project updates and meet with faculty and staff.

“As a state-of-the art food-processing center, FAPC understands the need to stay up-to-date with the trends and progressions of the food industry,” Escoubas said. “The advisory board helps to keep us on track with timely and important issues facing the food and agricultural industries.”

John Patrick Lopez of Lopez Foods in Oklahoma City, Ed Clements of Clements Foods in Oklahoma City and Tommy Kramer of the Durant Industry Authority in Durant, serve as the committee chair, vice chair and secretary, respectively, for a second term.

“FAPC is extremely important to me and to Lopez Foods,” Lopez said. “I’m looking forward to continue to serve as chair of the committee and work with a talented group of food business leaders.”

During the meeting, FAPC Industry Advisory Committee members heard updates about marketing the center, equipment maintenance, OSU’s food safety option, a potential certification program and Global Food Safety Initiative support to Oklahoma companies, and the group participated in a beef patty sensory project.

“FAPC is essential to what we do,” Lopez said. “It’s important to understand how FAPC truly helps Oklahoma businesses.”

In the last 5-year economic impact study on 75 Oklahoma food businesses, FAPC was credited with generating more than $18 million in annual sales revenue. These companies were located in communities across Oklahoma from Guymon to Tahlequah to Ponca City to Ardmore, generating more than 350 jobs in these communities.

Members of the committee are appointed by the highest positions of the Oklahoma state government and the vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, of which FAPC is a part.

In addition to Lopez, Clements and Kramer, other members of the committee include Luis Bogran, Bemis Co. of Pauls Valley; Gary Crane, Ralph’s Packing Co. of Perkins; Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms of Perry; Joe Ford, Shawnee Milling Co. of Shawnee; John Griffin, Griffin Foods of Muskogee; David Howard, Unitherm Food Systems of Bristow; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms of Miami; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center of Altus; David McLaughlin, retired from AdvancePierre Foods of Oklahoma City; Philip Payment, Homeland Acquisition Corp. of Oklahoma City; Paul Schatte, Head Country Food Inc. of Ponca City; Mark Vaughan, Vaughan Foods of Moore; and ex-officio Tom Coon, OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

The committee meets twice a year, usually in June and November. The June meeting is held at FAPC, while the November meeting is held off-site at the discretion of the committee. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 3 in Oklahoma City at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.