The recent Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center’s advisory board meeting looked a little different than past meetings. The greetings of handshakes and delicious refreshments during arrival were replaced with virtual handwaves and pictures of colorful iced donuts.
“The coronavirus has changed the way people communicate, especially with their jobs and livelihoods,” said Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. “Organizations and companies have turned to online platforms to conduct meetings and interact with others, and the center is no exception.”
FAPC held its Industry Advisory Committee meeting June 4 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.
“Although the group would rather meet in person, the meeting went well and served its purpose of discussing current topics affecting the food and agricultural industries,” he said. “The meetings are vital to keep the committee members informed, so we are able to provide the necessary leadership to the center.”
Some of the topics discussed include the Oklahoma Manufacturing Reboot Program, COVID-19 effects on the Oklahoma food industry, small meat plant operation start-ups and feasibility, partnership with the Small Business Development Center, online training development and more.
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, other members of the committee include Scott Dvorak, Dvorak Farms; Joe Ford, Shawnee Milling Co.; John Griffin, Griffin Foods; Erica Hering, Ralph’s Packing Co; David Howard, Howard Industries; Curtis Jurgensmeyer, J-M Farms; Rodger Kerr, Southwest Economic Development Corp.; Tommy Kramer, Kramer Consulting Co.; John Lopez, Lopez Foods; Max McDermott, deVine Water Co.; David McLaughlin, McLaughlin Group LLC; Paul Schatte, Paul’s Food Products; Mark Vaughan, Fresh Avenue Partners; and ex-officio Tom Coon, OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
The committee meets twice a year –– once in the spring and once in the fall. The spring meeting is usually held at FAPC, while the fall meeting is typically held off-site at the discretion of the committee.
“The committee looks forward to meeting in the fall, 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,” Clements said.
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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Gross | FAPC Communications Services | 405-744-0442 | firstname.lastname@example.org