A Miami, Oklahoma, agricultural producer is the newest member of the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center advisory board.
Appointed by the vice president for agricultural programs of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Curtis Jurgensmeyer, president and chief executive officer of J-M Farms, joins the 16-member Industry Advisory Committee to help oversee the center’s mission and vision.
“I feel honored to be a part of it,” Jurgensmeyer said. “I know my father was on the original board and enjoyed his time serving. It is a great honor to follow in his footsteps.”
Being involved in a non-traditional agricultural business, he hopes to bring a different perspective to the board.
Jurgensmeyer began an active role at J-M Farm in 1981, working in all aspects of the company. Then, in 1991, he earned a leadership position and was named president and chief executive officer of the nationally recognized, privately held agricultural production and value-added business.
Founded by Jurgensmeyer’s father, Virgil, in 1979, J-M Farms is an integrated mushroom business involving the production, harvesting, packing and shipping of more than 28 million pounds of white button, portabella, cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
J-M Farms employs more than 450 northeastern Oklahoma residents. It markets and sells its products under the J-M Fresh label and delivers quality products to Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.
J-M Farms grows, harvests, packs and ships mushrooms for businesses and agencies such as the United States Department of Defense and Walmart, as well as major distribution companies like Associated Wholesale Grocers.
Approximately 40% of the company’s products are sold to the retail industry, while the remainding 60% services the restaurant industry.
Jurgensmeyer has worked alongside his father and brothers in growing the business, while continuing to earn superior ratings from the American Institute of Baking third-party food safety and manufacturing auditors.
J-M Farms had only been in business a little more than a year when Jurgensmeyer started working for the company after graduating from the University of Florida.
“At that time, we only grew about 40,000 pounds of mushrooms a week and through several expansions and improvements in growing practices, we are now growing over 500,000 pounds a week,” he said. “I was mainly in charge of the operations, getting all of the day-to-day work done. One of my brothers, Terry, oversaw all of the maintenance work, and my other brother, Pat, was in charge of the packaging and sales.”
FAPC has continued a strong relationship with J-M Farms since the center’s inception in 1997. The company has benefited from several FAPC services throughout the past 22 years, including food safety, product development, product testing, equipment design, waste product management and more.
“Just recently, FAPC’s Nurhan Dunford was up to visit and looking into helping us develop a passive treatment for our wastewater that uses natural algae,” Jurgensmeyer said.
FAPC is essential in keeping the value-added dollars in the state’s economy instead of exporting those products to other states or overseas, he added.
“FAPC is a huge benefit to agriculture in the state of Oklahoma, developing more value-added products that are made from the crops and livestock the state already produces,” Jurgensmeyer said.
Jurgensmeyer joined the other advisory board members during the latest biannual meeting June 6 at FAPC in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Roy Escoubas, FAPC director, said he is looking forward to Jurgensmeyer’s involvement on the Industry Advisory Committee and having him interact with the other committee members.
“J-M Farms has been a tremendous supporter of FAPC throughout the years,” Escoubas said. “Curtis’ experience in the family business and leadership with multiple trade and civic organizations make him an excellent resource to the committee.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Gross | FAPC Communications Services | 405-744-0442 | firstname.lastname@example.org