Former Hoosier Chris Novak is moving from the head of the National Pork Board to the head of the National Corn Growers Association. Novak’s experience in pork may serve him well as head of the Corn Growers. Novak left his position as executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council in 2008 to head the National Pork Board, not the best of times for the pork industry. “Producers were dealing with low prices and high feed costs, I figured things could only get better,” said Novak. In fact, they got worse. The industry was hit with H1N1 in 2009, and lost some key export markets for a while.
By 2010, things began to turn around for the pork industry, and Novak says he was there as the industry made some momentous changes, “We dropped the ‘Pork the Other White Meat’ campaign in favor of ‘Pork, Be Inspired.’ Since then we had enjoyed great success.” He also participated in a new strategic plan for the Pork Board. During his tenure, Novak also faced serious pressure from animal rights groups and ballot referendums dealing with sow housing.
He takes over the reins of NCGA at a time when corn production is setting new records, but as the industry is facing serious challenges from anti-GMO forces and from the government which wants to impose increasing regulations on corn growers. Novak’s experience with Indiana’s ethanol industry may come in handy as NCGA deals with the EPA decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard.