The National Pork Board has named Norman Bessac as its new Vice President of International Marketing. Bessac is currently director of international sales for Tyson Fresh Meats, a position he has held since 2016.
Bessac has spent his entire career in international sales and marketing, business development, customer communications and consumer insights roles in the fresh meat industry. Prior to Tyson, Bessac served as the vice president of international pork sales and marketing at Cargill Meat Solutions in Wichita, Kansas.
“The marketing and promotion of U.S. pork has never been more critical for America’s pork producers,” said Bill Luckey, chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing committee and a pig farmer from Columbus, Nebraska. “Given today’s challenging international marketing environment, Norman’s extensive knowledge of the pork industry and his deep experience in international markets and consumer preferences will continue our work to elevate pork sales on the global level.”
U.S. pork exports are challenged by the ongoing renegotiation of trade agreements, especially for top markets like Japan, Mexico, Canada and China. While the volume of exports has remained strong in the past year, the value of pork exports was relatively steady, declining by 1 percent, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports represent approximately 26 percent of all U.S. production.
The National Pork Board works closely with USMEF and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in researching and developing new markets and expanding the existing customer base for U.S. pork. In 2018, top global markets for U.S. pork exports include Mexico, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and Colombia.
“As the pork industry’s continued success depends heavily on access to export markets, it is important to collaborate with experts that can identify new markets while meeting the marketing needs of established markets,” said Bill Even, National Pork Board chief executive officer. “That means continuing to work closely with USMEF, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and NPPC. We welcome Norman to the Pork Checkoff in this very important role.”
Over the years, Bessac has held many strategic leadership roles in the food industry with top household name brands including Tyson, Cargill and Sara Lee. Bessac will join the Pork Board staff on April 1.
“I’m honored to join the Pork Checkoff in this critical role. I have decades of experience and knowledge of the fresh meat industry, specifically from the perspective of global food production, processing, sales and marketing,” Bessac said. “I know the players well and look forward to continuing to work closely with them as I shift my focus in a new, aggressive direction on behalf of America’s pork producers.”
Bessac has a Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Business (Nashville) and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing/Management from the University of South Carolina (Columbia).