Chris Novak, a state commodity association executive, is the new National Pork Board chief executive officer. The announcement was made Wednesday. Novak replaces Steve Murphy, who became the National Pork Board's first chief executive officer in Oct. 2002.

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.

"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 NPB 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 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.”

Weaver said Novak will begin his National Pork Board duties Oct. 1. Prior to that time, the National Pork Board's Checkoff-funded programs were handled under a contract with NPPC.

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 and later became their first director of environmental services.

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

Source: National Pork Board