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Bernard Leonard, group VP/Food Service at Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc., has become chairman of the National Chicken Council (NCC), the trade association for the chicken production and processing industry. Additionally, Lampkin Butts, president of Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms, began his tenure as vice chairman, and Bill Lovette, president and COO of Troutman, N.C.-based Case Foods is now secretary-treasurer.
The new officers, who will serve one-year terms, were installed during the recent NCC Annual Conference in Washington. Also at the conference, George Watts of Alexandria, Va., was elected to another term as NCC president, a position he has held since 1972.
Leonard came to Tyson in 1998 when that company acquired Hudson Foods, where he was VP of broiler sales and operations. At Tyson, he became VP of operations, then transitioned to sales and operations as VP and SVP, and became head of food service in November 2006. Since starting out in the poultry industry in 1975, Leonard has held various positions with industry associations, including the Alabama Poultry & Egg Association and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. He joined the NCC board of directors in June 2007 and was elected to the executive committee in February 2008. He rose to the post of secretary-treasurer of the NCC board in 2008 and then to vice chairman last year.
Butts began his career with Sanderson Farms in 1973, working in various parts of the company before being elected to the board of directors in 1998. He attained his present position at Sanderson in 2004. Butts has served on the NCC board since 2004, and has also sat on the boards of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the Mississippi Poultry Association. He became secretary-treasurer of the NCC board last year.
In addition to being president and COO, Lovette is a member of Case Foods’ board of directors. He began his career in the poultry business in 1982 at Valmac Industries, which was eventually acquired by Tyson. He has held many leadership roles within the industry, among them chairman of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.
The Washington-based NCC represents the companies that produce, process and market chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.