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

Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
Soybean Closeup
Eric SfiligojGlyphosate and Dicamba Facing War In-Between the States
July 10, 2017
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for crop protection products containing glyphosate and dicamba. First, in late June, the Read More
Young Corn Plants
Eric SfiligojLaunching New Seed Traits: Wait on China . . . Or Else!
June 26, 2017
In life, no one likes the waiting game. In agriculture, however, playing the waiting game is very important – especially Read More
Trending Articles
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an American Pastime
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application Parameters
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Responds to Arkansas, Missouri Dicamba Bans
July 10, 2017
Monsanto, provider of the dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready Xtend crop system for soybeans and cotton, issued the following statement on Friday, Read More
Retail FacilitiesPCS-Hammond Meets Fertilizer Storage Needs with New Dome Facility
July 8, 2017
The new barrel dome facility at the PCS-Hammond Regional Distribution Center in Hammond, IN, can hold more than 100,000 tons Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Latest News
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More
Students Soybean Field
StewardshipCCA 4R Study Guide Available
July 17, 2017
In June the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) released the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soil Young Corn
StewardshipTop 10 Themes from the 2017 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sum…
July 17, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applicatio…
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More
corn-potassium-deficiency-University-of-Minnesota-Extension
Crop InputsRecognizing Potassium Deficiency Symptoms in Crops
July 17, 2017
Some crops exhibit characteristic deficiency symptoms when adequate amounts of K are not available for growth and development, according to Read More
ManagementComplexity in Agriculture: The Rise (and Fall?) of Mons…
July 17, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if the ag world is changing so fast that we can barely keep up with it Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: Illegal, Improper Use at Root of Drift Proble…
July 14, 2017
Monsanto isn’t backing down from the position that its tool — the Roundup Ready Xtend dicamba-tolerant system for soybeans and Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application…
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsCreate a ‘No-Mite Zone’ Around Your Fields
July 13, 2017
Explosive. That’s one way to describe the speed at which mite infestations in crops can develop under the right conditions. Read More