National Pork Board's New Chief Executive Officer

US - The National Pork Board on Wednesday named Chris Novak, a state commodity association executive, as the organization's new chief executive officer.
calendar icon 4 September 2008
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Novak has served as executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana's corn organizations. He led the merger of two soybean organizations and helped build partnerships between Indiana's soybean, corn and livestock commodity organizations. He also worked to secure passage of a new state corn checkoff.

"This is a challenging time for the U.S. pork industry because of the volatility in the markets, but also a time of great opportunity," said Steve Weaver, a pork producer from Elk Grove, Calif., and president of the National Pork Board. "That is why I and my fellow National Pork Board members are so excited to have someone with Chris Novak's experience and abilities to work with us in meeting those challenges and identifying those opportunities on behalf of all U.S. pork producers."

"This is like coming home for me," said Novak, who grew up on a diversified farm near Marion, Iowa, and who worked for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) early in his career. "I look forward to building on the grassroots tradition of serving both the producers who invest in the Pork Checkoff and those who hold a stake in the success of the U.S. pork industry.

"Pork producers have a long history of leadership in caring for their animals, nurturing the environment and meeting the needs of their communities and their customers. The board's responsible pork initiative is a great example of putting that commitment into action. I am honored to be able to return to this great segment of American agriculture and to be able to help chart its future."

Weaver said Novak will begin his National Pork Board duties Oct. 1. He replaces Steve Murphy, who announced his resignation in January and who has continued to serve while the board searched for his replacement. Murphy became the National Pork Board's first CEO in October 2002. Prior to that time, the National Pork Board's Checkoff-funded programs were handled under a contract with NPPC.

"The board and all of us in the U.S. pork industry salute Steve Murphy for his leadership at a critical time in our industry's history. He has positioned us well for the future and he has developed as fine an organization and staff as you will find in American agriculture."

Novak, who was a state FFA officer as a youth, has a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and an executive master's degree in business administration from Purdue University.

He began his professional career as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and joined NPPC in 1990 as director of public policy. In 1992, he became NPPC's first director of environmental services.

Novak also has been executive director of the Terrene Institute, a nonprofit environmental education organization. He served as an executive of the American Soybean Association. And he was science communication manager for Syngenta, where he directed biotechnology communication activities.

Novak and his wife, Julie, have three children: Victoria, 15; Katherine, 13; and Jackson, 8.

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