Meat processors from across Oklahoma and Texas attended the annual Oklahoma-Texas Meat Processors Association convention at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center.
“FAPC is an ideal place to host this type of event,” said Jake Nelson, executive director of OTPMA and food safety coordinator of Ralph’s Packing Company. “Not only geographically, but they have unique facilities and specialists who can offer support to meat tradesmen and small processors in the industry.”
Most members involved with OTMPA had the opportunity to work in the pilot plant and learn new techniques, from processing to food safety and equipment.
“The convention was very eye-opening and allowed for good fellowship as meat tradesmen came together to learn and connect with others in the industry,” said Aaron Moore, facilities manager at FAPC.
Processors and suppliers from across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and even as far as Pennsylvania came together to fellowship, network and learn about ways to improve their operations. Participants were put to the test in a cured meats competition in which entrants were judged on many of the popular products prepared by these processors.
“The cured meats competition included over 90 different products that were judged and scored based on criteria such as appearance, flavor, aroma, uniqueness, texture and tenderness,” said Joel Jackson, FAPC meat pilot plant manager.
A new portion was added to the convention this year with four technical sessions covering basic fabrication, pork slaughter, sausage making and the fundamentals of curing. These sessions gave the new members an opportunity to expand their knowledge and existing members a chance to see a different technique.
“Establishing relationships with processors and suppliers is an essential part of the ongoing mission at FAPC,” said Jackson. “These events offer opportunities for outreach and involvement from administration, faculty, staff and students.”
FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.