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Agricultural News

Advisory Board Continues to Support OSU food and Ag Center

Mon, 14 Dec 2020 15:04:46 CST

Advisory Board Continues to Support OSU food and Ag Center For the second time this year, the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center's advisory board met online to discuss projects, programs and opportunities of the center.

"Usually, the fall advisory board meeting is a chance for the members to travel to a central location or one of the other member's facility; however, COVID made us rethink our plans," said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. "Nevertheless, we are fortunate to have an advisory board that is invested in the future of the center and willing to accommodate and continue to provide the support we need."

FAPC held its Industry Advisory Committee meeting Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon, utilizing the Zoom cloud-based platform to connect the board members with center faculty and staff.

The committee meetings give the board an opportunity to offer counsel, make decisions and take leadership action to ensure FAPC makes sound short- and long-term plans to accomplish its mission and objectives, said Ed Clements, chair of the advisory board.

"The meetings are vital to keep the committee members informed, so we are able to provide the necessary leadership to the center," he said.

A majority of the discussion focused on how FAPC and the food industry have adjusted to working during the pandemic. Topics included the Oklahoma Manufacturing Reboot Program, status of the food safety option, beef processing in Oklahoma, activities in milling and baking, online training development, research utilizing eye-tracking technology, partnership with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers and more.

"FAPC was identified as an essential unit and continued to operate and provide assistance to the food and agricultural industries, even when the OSU campus was closed from mid-March to early July," Escoubas said. "Our faculty and staff made the necessary adjustments to continue to provide services and offer online workshops and trainings."

Members of the committee are appointed by the Oklahoma governor, speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the Senate president pro tempore and the vice president for agricultural programs of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

During the meeting, the group welcomed two new members to the committee: Dan Jolliff of U.S. Roaster Corp and Marc Jones of HAC Inc.

In addition to Clements, Jolliff and Jones, other members of the committee include Scot Dvorak, Dvorak Farms; Joe Ford, Shawnee Milling Co.; John Griffin, Griffin Foods; Erica Hering, Ralph's Packing Co.; Curtis Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms; Rodger Kerr, Altus Chamber of Commerce; Tommy Kramer, Kramer Consulting Co.; John Lopez, Lopez Foods; Max McDermott, deVine Water Co.; David McLaughlin, McLaughlin Group LLC; Mark Vaughan, Fresh Avenue Partners; and ex-officio Tom Coon, OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

"The board applauds Dr. Escoubas and his staff for continuing to provide assistance and resources to the food industry during this time of uncertainty," Clements said. "The committee looks forward to meeting in the spring, and although we hope we can schedule an in-person meeting, we are committed to providing oversight and leadership to FAPC, whether it's sitting in an actual meeting room or web conferencing."

FAPC, a part of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.



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