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Mike Helgeson, CEO of GNP Company, was elected 2013-14 chairman of the National Chicken Council.
on October 2, 2013

GNP Company’s Mike Helgeson installed as chairman of National Chicken Council

Claxton’s Jerry Lane named vice chairman, Simmons Foods’ Todd Simmons elected secretary/treasurer

Mike Helgeson, CEO of GNP Company, St. Cloud, Minn., was elected to serve as 2013-2014 chairman of the National Chicken Council (NCC). Helgeson and other officers were named October 1 during NCC's board of directors meeting held in Washington, D.C.

"It's a great honor to serve as the incoming chair for the National Chicken Council, and I look forward to serving the chicken industry in the upcoming year," Helgeson said. "Ours is a vibrant and dynamic industry, one with great opportunities as well as ongoing challenges.  As I take the gavel today, I'm optimistic that we'll continue to step up to not only meet but exceed the challenges and opportunities the next year will bring us."

Helgeson discusses more views on the NCC, the poultry industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard during a video interview, available on WATTAgNet.

Helgeson has served as CEO and a member of the board of directors of GNP Company (formerly Gold'n Plump Poultry) since 1993. He joined the company in 1974 and worked in various divisions, including new products manager in the sales and marketing division, project manager in the broiler division, personnel manager at the Cold Spring, Minn., processing plant, and purchasing/elevator manager in the feed and grain division. He spent his first two years in Indonesia researching and developing a broiler operation.

Helgeson holds a BS degree in business from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, Kotz Graduate School of Management. He lives near St. Cloud with his wife, Karel. They have two grown sons.

Serving as vice chairman for 2013-2014 is Jerry Lane, president of Claxton Poultry in Claxton, Ga.

Lane, a veteran of 34 years in Georgia's poultry industry, has been with Claxton Poultry since 1985, serving as general manager and vice president. He was named president of the company in 1997. Prior to joining Claxton, Lane began his poultry career at Mar Jac Poultry in 1978.

He has held a variety of leadership roles with a number of local and national poultry groups and associations, including serving as: a member of the NCC Board of Directors; a member of the Georgia Governors Agriculture Commission; president, senior vice president and board member of the Georgia Poultry Federation; past chairman, Georgia Poultry Improvement Association; and a board member of N.W. Fries, Inc. and Claxton Bank.  He is also a life member of the Poultry Leaders Roundtable.

Lane graduated in 1972 from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He is also a graduate of Brenau University with a Masters of Business Administration. Jerry and his wife, Kitty, live in Statesboro, Ga. They have one grown daughter.

New to the officer corps, Todd Simmons takes over as Secretary-Treasurer.

Simmons is the CEO of Simmons Foods and affiliates with headquarters in Siloam Springs, Ark. He joined Simmons in 1994 following graduation from Georgetown University. Most recently Simmons was promoted to CEO and vice chairman in January 2013, after having served as chief operating officer of both the Poultry and Pet Food divisions for the previous three years.

Simmons also serves on the executive committee and board of the Pet Food Institute, and is on the board of The Poultry Federation that represents Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Simmons and his wife Shelley live in Siloam Springs with their daughter Caroline and son Charlie.

In addition to the three new officers, Mike Brown, of Vienna, Virginia, was elected to a third term as president of NCC.

"I first want to commend immediate past Chairman Bill Lovette for his outstanding service to NCC and to the industry this past year and for his long list of accomplishments," noted Brown. "The next 12 months will be a year full of challenges and opportunities for NCC, as issues like feed security, food safety, inspection and international trade become more prominent. I look forward to leaning on the extensive experience and vast knowledge of this group of officers to guide our organization in the coming year."

Officers serve one-year terms.

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