Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed Edward “Ed” Fryar Jr., Ph.D., to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. His term begins March 1, 2019, and expires March 1, 2029.

Fryar, a graduate of the University of Arkansas with degrees in economics (B.A.) and agricultural economics (M.S.), in 2000, co-founded Ozark Mountain Poultry (OMP) in Rogers, Arkansas, following a long career in academia. In 2018, OMP was sold to George’s Inc.

“As both a graduate and a former professor at the University of Arkansas, Ed’s extensive knowledge of the school and his love for it have made him the clear choice as the next member of the university’s board of trustees,” Hutchinson said. “Ed has decades of experience in education, research, agriculture, economics, business management, and, as a resident of Northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years, he knows the heart of the region well. He will be an excellent representative of the Third Congressional District on the board. His perspective will be an asset to an already impressive group of board members."

Fryar is a native of Arkansas.

“Arkansas and education have always been close to my heart,” Fryar said. “It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve not only my alma mater but the entire University of Arkansas System as a member of the board of trustees. I would like to thank Governor Hutchinson for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this great institution and to serve the state.”

He earned a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota.


Fryar was a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville for 13 years. He has published articles in more than 50 professional journals, and he has 40 years of professional experience in agriculture.

In October of 2000, he co-founded OMP. The company, which specialized in raising chickens without antibiotics or animal by-products, began with 25 employees. When the company was sold, it employed 1,800 people with facilities in Rogers, Batesville, Magness, Bay, and Newport.

Since 1983, Fryar has served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisors for the Governors of Arkansas. He was also a member of the Fayetteville School Board in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2010, he served as treasurer for Congressman Steve Womack’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves as a member of the Agribusiness Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 

Dr. Fryar and his wife, Michelle, live in Northwest Arkansas. They have been married for more than 45 years and have two children and eight grandchildren.

Fryar replaces David Pryor on the board of trustees.