Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center
Meat-processing expert appointed to FAPC advisory board
By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager
(Stillwater, Okla. – Dec. 13, 2016) A specialty meat-processing expert is the newest member of Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center advisory board.
Appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, Erica Hering, co-owner and corporate fiscal officer of Ralph’s Packing Co., joins the 16-member Industry Advisory Committee to help oversee the center’s mission and vision.
“I’m very honored and excited to be appointed to the IAC,” Hering said. “FAPC has such a strong and prominent reputation in Oklahoma and nationwide, and I feel the IAC has been a primary influence on the direction of FAPC over the years. There are many changes and challenges coming to our industry, and I’m very excited to be a part of such a diverse and knowledgeable committee, which will help guide FAPC through these changes.”
Hering is a third-generation leader in the family business, serving Perkins and surrounding communities since the 1950s. Ralph’s Packing Co. is a complete meat-processing company, specializing in high-quality smoked and fresh-meat products.
In addition to growing up working in the family’s small meat plant, Hering also has served on the board of directors of state and national meat-processing associations.
“Through all of my personal experience with my family’s meat plant, as well as my experience on national and regional meat boards, I feel I bring a unique perspective of the small-to-medium sizes meat-processing facilities,” she said. “I’ve worked in and seen plants ranging from one-to-four-person custom slaughter facilities to larger 50-to-100-person further-processing meat plants. Many of the rules, regulations and processes in the meat industry are geared towards larger meat-processing plants. I’m able to see these same rules and processes from a smaller meat-plant point of view and will be able to represent the smaller plants at the committee meetings.”
Hering visited the center and met with FAPC Director Roy Escoubas, OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Vice President for Agricultural Programs Tom Coon, and center faculty and staff. The Oct. 28 visit also included a tour of the FAPC facility.
FAPC has continued a strong relationship with Ralph’s Packing Co. since the center’s inception in 1997. The company has benefited from several FAPC services throughout the past 20 years, including nutritional labeling, custom processing, food safety seminars, social media training and product testing.
“I feel Ralph’s has an exceptional relationship with FAPC, and we continue to benefit from one another,” Hering said. “Several people in the state believe FAPC targets primarily start-up businesses, but as a business that’s been operating for over 55 years, I can attest FAPC has services to offer long-standing businesses. I’ve also talked with many colleagues from around the United States, and many are envious of our close connection to FAPC and the services offered to us and our employees. So many of my colleagues in different parts of the country don’t have a resource in their backyard as important and unique as FAPC.”
Hering joined the other advisory board members during the latest biannual meeting Nov. 3 at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.
Roy Escoubas, FAPC director, said he is looking forward to having Hering on the Industry Advisory Committee and having her interact with the other committee members.
“Ralph’s Packing Co. has been transformed into a contemporary specialty meats business under the able leadership of Ms. Hering,” Escoubas said. “Her experience in the family business and leadership with multiple meat-processing organizations make her an excellent resource to the committee.”
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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.