The Texas Association of Meat Processors (TAMP) held their 31st annual convention in College Station, August 10-12, 2017. TAMP members are primarily the small and very small meat plants around Texas and their associated suppliers. Dr. Davey Griffin, professor and Extension Meat Specialist serves as the director of the association through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Animal Science and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The association holds its annual convention in College Station every-other-year to have an opportunity to learn from the Texas A&M University System faculty during their educational program and to conduct their Processed Meat Product Show using university experts for the class judges.
Friday morning, the group was hosted by Ruffino Meats and Food Service where they were given a tour of their processing facility. Texas A&M University former student and plant manager Terry Wiese lead a team of “tour guides” for the event.
On Friday afternoon, Dr. Wes Osburn, Associate Professor and Associate Head for Academic Programs in the Department of Animal Science led the group through an afternoon program at the Rosenthal Meat Center on “Vegetables as Ingredients in Processed Meats.” He was aided in the discussion and hands-on demonstrations by a team of Meat Science graduate students (led by Chi-heng “Martin” Wu) and Rick Fitzgerald who works with many of the plants through his position at A.C. Legg, Inc. During the workshop, the group learned the scientific “pros and cons” of adding various ingredients to develop new products, then they had an opportunity to make variations of fresh bratwurst and then taste them before the end of the program.
After an evening event off campus, the group gathered at the Rosenthal Meat Center on Saturday morning to enter products in the TAMP Processed Meat Product Show and to continue their educational program. Dr. David Anderson, Professor and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Economist gave current information on pricing of raw materials and meat products followed by information on upcoming hog casing increased, potential tax savings during research and development activities and methods to save taxes during ownership succession.
While those activities were taking place, another group of faculty, staff, and graduate students as well as TAMP supplier members, and some invited guests served as judges for the TAMP annual Processed Meat Product Show. Amanda Smith, former Meat Science graduate student who now works for HEB Foods served as the contest Superintendent for the contest which included 15 classes of products including boneless hams, commercial bacon, dry ring sausage, summer sausage, specialty summer sausage, frankfurters, smoked sausage, specialty smoked sausage, snack sticks, specialty snack sticks, fresh pork sausage, hot links, beef jerky, innovative products and a rotating class (this year it was barbecue sauce). Each class was judged for its’ individual merits and ranked by a panel of judges. The winners in each class were then pitted against each other to determine a Best of Show product, which this year was determined to be beef jerky!
Judges included: Texas A&M University Meat Science graduate students Adam Murray, Martin Wu, Jill Jobe, Spencer Tindel, Micki Gooch, Melissa Bamsey, Hillary Martinez; Texas A&M University faculty members, Kerri Gehring, Leslie Frenzel and Dan Hale; Industry representatives Mark Frenzel (W.R. White) and Greg Mueller (World Casing Corp.); World Champion Chuckwagon Cook, Homer Robertson; Barbecue enthusiast and blogger, Scott Sandlin and Texas A&M University undergraduate student, Ty Robertson.
After returning to the hotel from campus, TAMP members participated in a suppliers show hosted by the more than 30 supplier companies attending the event. Later in the day, the Processed Meat Product Show winners were announced. At the evening banquet, the TAMP Scholarship Committee announced that they had recently awarded a record nine $1,000 scholarships to deserving students! The majority of the students recognized had some ties to either a TAMP plant or supplier member. Six of the nine scholarship winners will be attending Texas A&M University this fall. The remaining students are attending Texas State Technical College, Angelo State University, and Tarleton State University.
Providing technical support before, during and after the convention were a trio of Animal Science undergraduate student assistants. Kenna Turner served as lead assistant for the event since she supports the TAMP group throughout the year. She was aided by Kirby Bohls and Megan Finley. Without their help, the program would not have be as successful!