DES MOINES – Effective Feb. 16, Chris Hodges, a veteran pork industry leader who most recently worked as the senior vice president of business development with Smithfield Foods' Farmland business, will join the National Pork Board as its CEO. He will remain with Smithfield until Feb. 16, before moving from Kansas City to Des Moines to assume the position as the leader of the Pork Checkoff.  

“Over the years, I have grown to understand the needs and challenges facing pork producers. From product marketing to disease management to sustainability," said Hodges. "I look forward to working with the National Pork Board staff and board to develop the tangible tools and grassroots programs on behalf of America’s pig farmers.”

According to a press release from NPB, Hodges brings in-depth knowledge and innovation in marketing pork to key U.S. food retailers and into international markets, which is valuable in leading the boards Checkoff program. Much of his fresh pork marketing experience includes direct producer outreach and involvement related to adopting on-farm practices specifically designed to improve overall meat quality.

“For the past 30 years, Chris has dedicated his career to the pork industry, building and leading teams to meet the emerging demands for protein in both the U.S. and international market place,” said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. “He knows this industry so well and, over the years, has given back through volunteering his time and expertise in several areas.”

Hodges is also a retiring board member of the National Pork Producers Council. He served as chairman of its Packer Processor Industry Council since 2013.