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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Food Industry Leaders Gather to Address Food and Ag Issues

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 09:44:39 CST

Oklahoma Food Industry Leaders Gather to Address Food and Ag Issues Very few times do you find Oklahoma's food industry leaders together in one place. That was the scene during a recent advisory meeting of Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center.

FAPC's Industry Advisory Committee members from all across Oklahoma met Nov. 10, 2011, at Unitherm Food Systems in Bristow, Okla., to discuss food and agricultural issues.

"The Industry Advisory Committee offers counsel, makes decisions and takes leadership action to ensure the FAPC makes sound short- and long-term plans to accomplish its mission and objectives," said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director.

David Howard, chair of the committee and president and owner of Unitherm Food Systems, presided over the meeting.

"The committee meetings give us an opportunity to discuss important issues and challenges facing the FAPC," Howard said. "The meetings are vital in order to keep us informed, so we are able to provide the necessary leadership."

During the meeting, committee members had the opportunity to take a tour of the Unitherm Food Systems facility, which is a market leader in innovative equipment technologies for pasteurization, cooking and chilling of raw, partially cooked and fully cooked food products and agricultural food commodities.

The company is known throughout the food processing industry for its innovative approach to the design and creation of machines and systems to maximize yields and reduce processing times, while enhancing safety and profitability.

The committee discussed various issues affecting the FAPC, including funding, staffing, equipment needs, and branding, marketing and communications efforts.

In addition to Howard, members of the committee include Paul Schatte, Head Country Food Products; Jill Stichler, Redland Juice Co.; John Williams, Chef's Requested Foods; John Griffin, Griffin Foods; Danny Dupree, Bar-S Foods Co.; Bill Wiley, BC Solutions; Tommy Kramer, Durant Economic Development Authority; Gary Crane, Ralph's Packing Co.; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center; David McLaughlin, AdvancePierre Foods; Gary Conkling, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms; Dick Davis, retired administrator of the Agri-Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections; and Allen Mills, Reasor's Inc.

The committee meets twice a year to conduct business relating to the FAPC, usually in June and November. The June meeting is held at the FAPC, while the November meeting is held off-site at the discretion of the committee.

"The FAPC has the privilege of oversight by this committee of Oklahoma agricultural and business leaders, appointed by the highest positions of Oklahoma state government," Escoubas said. "Through the visionary leadership of certain state representatives and senators, such as Sens. Bruce Price, Paul Muegge and the late Bob Kerr and Rep. M.C. Leist, State Statute 2-5-60 was established in 1997 to provide an advisory committee for the FAPC," Escoubas said.

The governor, the speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate each appoint four members to the FAPC Industry Advisory Committee. The vice president, dean and director of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources serves as a non-voting member and also appoints three members to the committee.



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