The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) announced the transition of oilseed industry expert and tireless champion, Thomas Hammer. During his tenure, Hammer provided invaluable knowledge and experience in the area of agricultural and trade expertise to the industry, most recently serving NOPA admirably as president and CEO since October 2001.
“On behalf of the NOPA board of directors and member companies, we graciously thank Hammer for his leadership guiding NOPA through an array of issues and challenges the industry faced through the years. And we wish him great success in his future business endeavors” said NOPA chair Diego Rasteletti (president, Bunge North America).
Hammer stated “It has been a privilege to serve the member companies as the president/CEO of NOPA. During my twenty-plus years, I believe that I have made a lasting contribution to the strength and resilience of the U.S. oilseed processing industry. I am excited to open a new chapter where I can continue to use my knowledge, expertise, strategic skills and expansive network to address the many challenges and opportunities facing our rapidly growing industry.”
Hammer will transition at the end of 2023. As NOPA honors Tom’s successful tenure, the association also warmly welcomes Kailee Tkacz Buller to take on the President and CEO role as its first female leader of NOPA since its founding in 1930.
“Kailee is a proven force and incredibly well-respected throughout the food and agriculture supply chain and across Capitol Hill. Her energy, passion, get it done attitude, and strategic experience comes at one of the most exciting and dynamic times in the history of the oilseed industry for renewable diesel and meal export expansion,” said Rasteletti. “Kailee will no doubt continue to build on the tremendous legacy laid by Tom with a future-focused and pro-growth mindset.”
Prior to joining NOPA, Tkacz Buller served three years as president and CEO of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO) where she transformed the organization through operational efficiencies, increased member engagement, enhanced member services, and strategic legislative and regulatory advocacy. She drove the creation of a new strategic plan that was enacted in April 2022 and facilitated a rebrand for the association in 2023.
Prior to ISEO, Tkacz Buller served in a variety of roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), including chief of staff to deputy secretary where she helped oversee the $150 billion budget and its 100,000 employees. She played pivotal roles during the negotiations and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill and was a key renewable fuels advocate at the highest levels of government. Earlier in her career, Tkacz Buller served in a variety of legislative and regulatory leadership roles at the Corn Refiners Association, SNAC International, and the National Grocers Association.
Tkacz Buller currently serves as the 8th Congressional district representative of the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a four-year termed position appointed by the Governor. She also serves as the vice chair of the Food Beverage Issue Alliance, a position she was elected to by her peers across 50 national food and beverage industry groups.
Tkacz Buller will assume the role of president and CEO of NOPA effective December 18, 2023.