Berg Family to Receive the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award
07-13-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor
DES MOINES, Iowa (Jul. 13, 2023) – Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Grant Menke will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on behalf of Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig to the Josh and Kelli Berg family. The presentation will take place during an event at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 14, at their family farm located at 2041 270th St, Early.
Berg Farm Enterprises is a diversified family farm owned and operated by Josh and Kelli Berg. They are the parents of Lincoln, age 9, Lauren, age 7, and Jackson, age 4. Josh’s dad Emmet and Kelli’s cousin Chad are employed to help with the day-to-day operations. The Bergs also employ four part-time employees and have hired several high school students when available, many of which are neighbors.
The Bergs raise corn, soybeans, finisher turkeys and brooder poults. Josh started farming as a mentee to Jym Covey in the fall of 2009. Jym was getting ready to retire, but wanted to identify a family to continue farming his family’s land. A relationship was built, and Josh and Kelli started taking over his operation in 2013. Josh and Kelli also rent Kelli’s father’s land. In April of 2015, Josh and Kelli bought their first 3-barn finisher site. In 2019, they purchased land to build a 10-pen turkey brooder facility, which came into operation in early 2020. In October of 2020, the Berg’s bought another 3-barn turkey finisher site. From 2014-2022, they sold Wyffels Hybrids to provide additional income.
“With a young and growing family, the Bergs not only take good care of their farm but also have stepped forward to provide valued leadership within their school, community and agriculture organizations,” said Secretary Naig. “Because of their dedication to their community and school, their stewardship of their farm, and contributions to Iowa agriculture, I am honored to present the Bergs with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”
Animal care is a top priority for the Bergs, and they utilize the latest technology to ensure their birds live in a low-stress environment. At their turkey finisher and brooder facilities, they use Maximus Control Systems which enables them to completely control the barns through technology. They can monitor humidity, feed availability and water usage and automate fan times, feed timing, and ventilation. With multiple sites, they are very attuned to their biosecurity protocols to ensure disease, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), is not introduced to the farm or spread from site to site. They believe upkeep on all facilities is important to raise healthy and productive birds that consumers can enjoy. Josh, Kelli, and all full-time employees have completed Tyson’s biosecurity certifications.
On their crop acres, Josh and Kelli have been 100 percent no-till in the past. Currently, all bean acres are no-till, while they lightly disc corn acres to incorporate turkey manure. They use and believe in terraces, buffer strips, and grassed waterways to reduce nutrient loss from the soil. They rotate crops every year to increase soil health and reduce insect and disease pressure. They manage and monitor nutrients to minimize loss from the soil to surrounding surface water.
The couple is very involved in their community. They are actively involved in the Sac County Farm Bureau, with Kelli serving as a past president. They are involved in the Iowa Turkey Federation, with Josh having served as both a board member and Vice President. Kelli has been a judge for the Iowa Turkey Gobble Up contest since 2021. Both Kelli and Josh are involved in numerous committees and events for the Storm Lake St. Mary’s school and are active in the St. Mary’s Church. Kelli is also a youth sports coach, a member of the Sacred Heart Guild, and is on a nominating committee for Farm Credit Services of America.
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) and The Big Show on WHO Radio. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment and their livestock and have demonstrated a commitment to their community. The award is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.
About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.
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