The Industry Advisory Committee of Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center met at Fidler Marketing Inc. in Oklahoma City to discuss food and agricultural issues and take a tour of the nearby Clements Foods.
Clements Foods, along with Fidler Marketing, co-hosted the16-member advisory board.
“We were honored to co-host the committee meeting with Fidler Marketing and give a tour of our 160,000-square-foot production facility,” said Ed Clements, president and co-owner of Clements Foods, manufacturer of quality branded and private label fruit preserves and jellies, syrups, mayonnaise and salad dressings, barbecue sauces, mustards, vinegar and peanut butter. “Because of limited conference space in our facility, Fidler Marketing graciously agreed to accommodate the advisory board.”
Led by Tish Fidler Tate and Leland Tate, Fidler Marketing collaborates with manufacturer clients, distributor customers and hospitality partners to develop strategic and tactical plans to support the execution and achievement of the agency’s objectives.
During the Nov. 15 meeting, FAPC Industry Advisory Committee members met with Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese and OSU Vice President for Agricultural Programs Tom Coon. In addition, FAPC faculty and staff discussed food safety updates, including the academic curriculum, current research and the professional certificate program.
“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.
“A big thank you to Clements Foods and Fidler Marketing for hosting our fall meeting,” he said. “Both groups went above and beyond our expectations for accommodating our advisory board.”
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 Oklahoma's diversified food industry.
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 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.
In addition to Clements and Coon, other members of the committee include Erica Hering, Ralph’s Packing Co.; Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms; Joe Ford, Shawnee Milling Co.; John Griffin, Griffin Foods; David Howard, Howard Industries; Virgil Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Technology Center; Tommy Kramer, retired from Durant Industrial Authority; John Patrick Lopez, Lopez Foods; Max McDermott, deVine Water Co.; David McLaughlin, retired from AdvancePierre Foods; Brian Haaraoja, Homeland Acquisition Corp.; Paul Schatte, Head Country Food Inc.; and Mark Vaughan, Fresh Avenue Partners.
The committee meets twice a year, usually in June and November. The June meeting takes place at FAPC, while the November meeting is held off-site at the discretion of the committee.
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.
Story by Mandy Gross