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Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

eNews - May 2017

View FAPC activity that occurred during the first quarter of 2017 in the May 2017 FAPC eNews.

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About FAPC: A look into the first 20 years
Featured Client: Bar-S Foods, a Sigma Co.
Economic Impacts
Food Industry Project: Noah Farms Aquaponics
Research Project: Low-cost Water Filters
Highlighted Video: Product Development Competition
Highlighted Photo: Research Symposium
Activity at FAPC
Fast Fact

About FAPC: 20-Year Anniversary

Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, a part of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017. To celebrate this milestone, FAPC published an historical book explaining how the center was created and outlining the events of its first 20 years. Visit to view an electronic copy. Interested in a hard copy? Send an address to

Featured Client

Bar-S Foods was created following the purchase of the Cudahy Food Co. from the General Host Corp. in 1981. The Cudahy Food Co. was a full-line meat packer established in 1890 with offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1981, the Cudahy Food Co. stood on its own as a national processed-meats company with Tim Day as president of the company and executive vice president of the General Host Corp. The Bar-S logo originated from a plant in Seattle, Washington, which became Seattle Packing Co. in 1950. The Bar-S brand became the processed meats brand of the Cudahy Food Co. at the time of the buy-out by Day and became the selling brand for the new company, Bar-S Foods. The "S" in Bar-S stood for Seattle. In August 2010, the Bar-S Foods merged with Sigma Alimentos, a subsidiary of the Alfa Group of Monterrey, Mexico, which is a major industrial company in Mexico.

Bar-S recently celebrated 10 years of being the No. 1 best-selling hot dog brand by volume in the United States (A. C. Nielsen 2006 - 2016) and in 2008, Rachael Ray Every Day magazine named the Bar-S Beef Frank as the "Best Overall Frank." The company operates 4 manufacturing facilities and 1 central distribution center in Oklahoma employing approximately 4,500 people. These facilities include Clinton, Altus, Lawton and Seminole. The central distribution center is in Elk City. The Clinton facility was the first of the Bar-S plants in Oklahoma.

FAPC and Bar-S Foods have enjoyed a great working relationship the last 20 years. Additionally, Bar-S has been a sponsor of many events at FAPC as well as has provided equipment donations to the center. They also have funded scholarships at Oklahoma State University.

Bar-S operates facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and high-speed efficiency but does not have pilot facilities for basic product development or evaluation of ingredients from various sources. FAPC has more than 97,000 square feet of pilot-processing facility equipped to meet the needs of many areas of the food industry including processed meats. Having these capabilities provides high-output manufacturing companies like Bar-S a work zone to perform basic R&D and product ingredient evaluations. As a result, there are fine Bar-S products that have entered the market, which had their beginnings at FAPC like the Old World Premium line in the early 2000s (bratwurst, kielbasa, etc.) to more recent introductions like the Beef & Bacon Frankfurter or the Jalapeño & Cheddar Cheese Frankfurter.

In October 2012, Bar-S entered into a long-term service agreement with FAPC, strengthening this relationship. Bar-S has provided up-front funding to support several working visits per year allowing FAPC to operate the meat processing pilot plant in an efficient and fiduciary manner. This expression of good will and confidence in FAPC's capabilities supports the hiring of students for day-to-day operations as well as ongoing maintenance of equipment. Since initiating the agreement, 83 working visits have occurred with nine of these being in the first quarter of 2017.

The most notable visit this quarter involved manufacturing a 2-foot corn dog presented to a retiring principal of one of its most valued customers. FAPC appreciates the confidence Bar-S displayed in requesting assistance with projects such as this, and the center appreciates the continued support and the working relationship with Bar-S.

Economic Impact

FAPC's strives to add value to Oklahoma by providing economic impact to the state. Following is an estimate of economic impact during the first quarter of 2017. These estimates represent the sales revenue of products that were the object of work at FAPC.

Food Industry Project

Clyde Ledgerwood contacted FAPC at the recommendation of Tom Kramer of the Durant Industrial Authority regarding the start-up of an aquaponics operation in the greater Durant area. FAPC representatives met with Ledgerwood and other aquaponics interested folks at Noah Aquaponics north of Vian, Oklahoma. Noah Aquaponics is a newly established operation spearheading the efforts to form a cooperative of aquaponics producers of greenhouse produce with Tilapia as the nutrient provider and a secondary marketable product. The visit at Vian was reciprocated with a tour and lunch at FAPC followed by a tour of the horticultural greenhouses west of campus in March. At that meeting, FAPC's Chuck Willoughby provided a list of resources for funding, grant writing, cooperative expertise, nutrition information, private food safety labs, fertilizer regulation and Oklahoma bottled water companies for Noah's Made in Oklahoma store.

Research Project

A project to improve construction methods used to build low-cost water filters was initiated after teaching food-processing workshops in developing nations and talking to scientists, engineers and survivalists. The developed low-cost water filtration has high efficiency and a small footprint, is effective in remote areas and can be built from commonly available materials. Lower cost of equipment compared to commercially available water filters make it easier for low-income and disadvantaged groups to have access to clean water. Clean water will, in turn, improve health, sanitation and wellbeing of the users, and facilitate value-added food processing.

Highlighted Video

Highlighted Photo

FAPC kicked off its 20-year anniversary celebration during the 17th Annual Research Symposium in February. The symposium featured food and agricultural research conducted by students from OSU, Langston and the University of Central Oklahoma.

Activity at FAPC

The following is activity that occurred during the first quarter of 2017 (January to March) at FAPC:
FAPC served on 36 key client projects.
33 visitor sessions or tours and a total of 323 guests visited the center for tours or work.
FAPC issued 36 Process Authority Letters and 17 nutrition label sets.

FAPC communications included 46 media and news releases, articles, extension reports and feature articles.
13 continuing education and training events were held with 283 attendees.
The FAPC pilot plant harvested or processed 64 beef, 130 hogs and 18 lambs.

Fast Fact

Prior to the completion and dedication of FAPC in 1996, Sen. Robert M. Kerr led an initiative to formally create an advisory board for the center. The first Industry Advisory Committee met at FAPC in May 1997. The committee started meeting biannually at the center, but in 2009 the committee made the decision to meet once at FAPC and once at an offsite location during the year.