Cambridgeshire-based John Shropshire heads up the family farming company G's Marketing near Ely. His business supplies salad crops and field vegetables from 25 co-operative farms covering 6,000ha in the UK and 4,000ha in Spain.
Chief executive Dr Tina Barsby said: "John's practical farming experience and commercial understanding of the modern food chain will be of great benefit.
"The trust plays a key role in supporting NIAB's core activities in crop improvement and plant genetic research."
Shropshire succeeds Lincolnshire farmer Bentley Nelstrop, who has retired as a trustee after a long association with the institute.