Former Senate aide picked to lead Corn Growers association

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The National Corn Growers Association has selected Chris Novak as chief executive of the trade association.

Novak comes to NCGA from the National Pork Board, where he also served as CEO for six years. He will replace Rick Tolman, who is retiring after 14 years with the association.

At the pork board, Novak oversaw a 2011 public awareness campaign to popularize eating pork. Today, consumer demand for the so-called “other white meat” is at an all-time high, according to the board, an agricultural “checkoff program” funded by the industry to promote pork products.

“With Chris’ guidance, our pork checkoff team built stronger relationships with pork producers across the country, with our state pork associations and with our partners in the food chain,” said Dale Norton, board president and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. in a statement.

Prior to serving on the pork board, Novak was executive director of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance. He has held positions in the private sector with Syngenta and began his career as a legislative aide in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) office. He has also worked on Capitol Hill for the National Pork Producers Council.

In his new position, Novak will likely work to defend the federal renewable fuel standard. Although the National Pork Board does not take policy positions, the pork industry has strongly opposed the biofuels mandate.

Novak holds a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in public service and administration from Iowa State University. He and his wife, Julie, have three children.

Novak will start on Oct. 13. Retiring CEO Tolman will relocate later this year to Utah, where he and his wife are building a home.