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

Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of Regulatory Approval
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Comodity Classic 2017 overview
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2017: Growers’ Three Wishes
March 6, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Commodity Classic show in San Antonio, TX. Drawing some 10,000 Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojCrop Protection Mergers: Plan B Or Not Plan B, That Is The Question
March 2, 2017
These past few months, many people that regularly follow the agricultural marketplace have been preoccupied with the numerous merger proposals Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
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
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
Latest News
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationARA: Sonny Perdue Confirmation Delay Simply A Paperwork…
March 9, 2017
It’s been seven weeks since the White House named former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) as the nominee for the next Read More