Conservationist’s Work Archived on Web

Jennifer Dempsey
November 23, 2007
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Norm Berg has worried about saving precious American soil for most of his life. So great was his passion that he joined the fledgling Soil Conservation Service as a young man in 1943 and, except for a stint in the United States Marine Corps, he’s been saving soil ever since. As a prolific writer and speech maker, Berg has influenced the entire world’s view of soil and water conservation and farmland preservation in the most positive of ways.

At age 90, Norm Berg continues his conservation work, serving as senior adviser for the American Farmland Trust (AFT) and as a representative for the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Recently, the AFT honored him by creating the Norm Berg Collection, which archives documents written by and about Berg, as well as key laws and reports surrounding milestones in conservation, on the Web.

Speeches and writings by conservationist Norm Berg have found a home on the Web. American Farmland Trust has archived works by and about Berg, who at age 90 continues his conservation work, serving as senior adviser for AFT and as a representative for the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Berg worked for Hugh Hammond Bennett, the first chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service, and then served as chief himself from 1979 until 1982. Bennett is considered “the father of soil conservation,” and Berg advocated a broader understanding of agricultural conservation, realizing that development threatened and continues to threaten agricultural resources.

The Norm Berg Collection includes documents written by Berg and about Berg, as well as key laws and reports surrounding milestones in conservation.

Nearly 200 speeches and articles by Berg while he was in positions of authority with the SCS from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s comprise the core of the collection. The writings show Berg’s determination to increase farm and ranch land protection, as well as his efforts in helping the SCS and other agencies to understand the need for more agricultural conservation.

American Farmland Trust with help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) gathered the collection, which is housed at www.FarmLandInfo.org, the Web site of AFT’s Farmland Information Center.

“We hope this collection will make Berg’s wisdom available to current and future farmland protection advocates,” says Ralph Grossi, ATF president and a long-time colleague of Berg’s, “and serve as a fitting tribute to his greatly respected leadership in the conservation field.”

Jennifer Dempsey manages the collection, and she evaluates potential material donated by the public. Contact her at the Farmland Information Center by phone at 800-370-4879, extension 13, or by email at jdempsey@farmland.org.








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