National FFA Organization, Foundation name new CEO

INDIANAPOLIS -- National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation announced today that Mark Poeschl of Brookville, Ohio, will become the new chief executive officer of both organizations effective Aug. 1, 2016.

National FFA Advisor and FFA Board of Directors Chair Dr. Steve A. Brown shared the news with agricultural education state leaders and National FFA staff, saying, “Mark’s management and leadership experience will embrace the mission of FFA and enhance our vision to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture. I look forward to working with a visionary leader who will continue developing student success within agricultural education.” Beth Bechdol, chair of the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees, said, “Mark has clearly demonstrated in his professional experiences his abilities to collaborate, innovate, communicate and lead. I am confident he will continue the positive momentum generated by our retiring CEO, Dr. Dwight Armstrong, and ensure even greater success for National FFA and the students we serve.”

Poeschl, a former FFA member and past state FFA president from Nebraska, brings strong business, customer service, financial, IT and global perspectives to the organization. He currently serves as vice president, group director, stakeholder engagement at Cargill, Inc., Cargill Animal Nutrition. During his tenure at Cargill, Poeschl was deeply involved in the successful integration of Provimi Holding BV as well as major capital expansion programs in the United States, South Africa, Jordan, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. In addition, he built and implemented business plans to assure profit objectives are consistently achieved and was actively involved in developing and executing Cargill Animal Nutrition’s global 2020 strategy. Poeschl played a key role in talent selection and career development in the company and was instrumental in collaborating and implementing long-range business strategies. In 2016 he began working on sustainable and responsible animal protein production issues with key stakeholders.

In accepting the position, Poeschl said, “I am honored and excited to assume this leadership role in the FFA, an organization that has been instrumental in both my personal and career development. I have deep admiration and affection for the FFA and I look forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of the organization. It will be a privilege to work with the FFA team, FFA members and agricultural education professionals.”

Poeschl is a 1983 graduate of University of Nebraska-Lincoln who began his career at Ralston Purina, St. Louis, Mo. In 1987 he moved to the animal nutrition firm Carl S. Akey, Inc., in Lewisburg, Ohio, where he co-led the company's sale to Provimi Holding BV. He served as president and CEO of North American Nutrition, a subsidiary of Provimi Holding BV, from 2007 to 2009. Poeschl then served as group vice president at Provimi Holding BV. In 2011 he moved to Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Poeschl and his wife, Nancy, have two sons, Nathan and Christopher. Over the past few years, they volunteered to serve as judges at the National FFA Convention & Expo. They also established a scholarship endowment for FFA members through the National FFA Foundation. In addition, Poeschl assists in the oversight of a family farming operation in Nebraska.

Poeschl succeeds outgoing CEO W. Dwight Armstrong, Ph.D., who retires June 30 after leading the organization for the past seven years during an era of dramatic growth and success. “Mark Poeschl is a strong leader with sound values centered on servant leadership," Armstrong said. "His management experience, global perspective and financial acumen will serve FFA well, and I know our staff will enjoy Mark’s leadership style and friendly personality.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.