The National Pork Board on Wednesday named Chris Novak as its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 1.
"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, 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."
Novak has served as executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, leading the merger of the state's two soybean associations, helping pass a new state corn checkoff and helped build partnerships within Indiana's soybean, corn and livestock commodity organizations. Novak succeeds Steve Murphy, who announced his resignation in January but has continued to work as CEO during the search for his successor.
"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," says Weaver. "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 grew up on a farm near Marion, Iowa, and he holds a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a master's degree in business administration from Purdue University. He began his career as a legislative assistant to Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and served as director of public policy and later as director of environmental services for the National Pork Producers Council.
"This is like coming home for me," said Novak. "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. I am honored to be able to return to this great segment of American agriculture and to be able to help chart its future."