Gordon Berg: Inspirational Editor Left A Legacy Of Excellence

Gordon L. Berg was the editor of Farm Chemicals magazine (now CropLife) for 25 years, from 1961 to 1985 during a period of great technological expansion with fertilizers, pesticides and application equipment. It was a time when agriculture was under almost daily attack from environmentalists and others who feared change and made doomsday predictions. In every monthly issue, Berg took up his pen to refute these claims and to fight for a strong industry, a strong agriculture and a strong America.

Berg passed away at his home in Willoughby, OH, on Saturday, July 3 at the age of 93.

He was born in Reeder, ND, a town with a population of less than 200. His parents were strong Norwegian people who cultivated the land from “soddy” houses, or worked on the railroad as it pushed its way through the prairie to the Northwest. A graduate of South Dakota State University, Berg brought that tough pioneer spirit based on self reliance, hard work and a spirit of optimism to his writings for Farm Chemicals.

When he was called a “Wild Turkey” by the Government’s Environmental Protection Agency, Berg formed a Wild Turkey Club and appointed himself as Chief Gobbler to encourage industry support for reasonable regulations that would not stifle farm productivity. Always a fighter, when he retired he said: “I intend to keep on ruffling feathers and fighting for a strong agriculture and a strong America.”

He hated “weasel” words which he described as intentionally misleading and ambiguous. We must be honest and forthright, he claimed, and we must be careful how we choose our words.

Berg started choosing his words with care at an early age. When he finished high school, he started a newspaper and was its editor, printer and salesman. Then he hired onto another newspaper and was proud of his skill at running a linotype machine which set type from hot metal.

He enlisted in the Army in l943, and, later, was one of the few remaining survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, where he fought with the 191st Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Army. After the war, he wrote a history of the 191st Battalion.

Words and writing were his love and passion. After Ag College, he became an extension editor at Penn State University, and then editor of locally published Everybody’s Poultry magazine. Later he moved to Philadelphia to take the reins of County Agent and Vo Ag Teacher magazine and Farm Chemicals. When these titles were purchased by Meister Publishing Co., he moved with them to Willoughby.

Gordon was a spirited leader of both magazines. He led the transformation of County Agent and Vo Ag Teacher to a new title, Ag Consultant, and a new focus on the rapidly expanding growth of independent crop consultants, championing their services to agriculture. For this, he was named a Lifetime Member of the National Association of Independent Crop Consultants. But it was in Farm Chemicals that his strong and often opinionated editorials challenged the industry to never be satisfied with the status quo.

Gordon Berg lived the American Dream which started in that small town in North Dakota and moved to the national and world stage in agriculture. He had a mission born in the hardness of the prairie life, a mission that found its fulfillment in the leadership of American agriculture during the tumultuous days when U.S. agriculture was called on to lead the world on the path to Food Security.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Gordon Berg: Inspirational Editor Left A Legacy Of Excellence

  1. Gordon was a great friend, and he was a mentor during the 5 years I worked at Meister. It was my honor to be asked to write and perform a humorous farewell to him at his retirement dinner in 1985.

Opinion Stories

AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s Guess
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojCrop Protection Mergers: Will They Or Won’t They?
November 14, 2016
Fall is in full swing and many sports fans probably spend the better parts of their time looking at the Read More
Trending Articles
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Latest News
ManagementARA 2016 Report and Crop Mix for 2017
December 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent Agricultural Retailers Association meeting and the projected acreage mix for Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In …
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Ryan Bartlett
Crop InputsCompass Minerals Appoints Vice President, Innovation An…
December 8, 2016
Ryan Bartlett, Ph.D., has joined Compass Minerals as vice president, innovation and product development. Dr. Bartlett will be responsible for Read More
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More