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Lora Berg

Stepping Into Big Shoes on Pork Industry Path

Being involved with the pork industry is part of a family tradition and lifelong passion for me.

There’s been a lot of talk about shoes lately. Curiously, it seems job transitions inevitably bring about references to footwear. As of July 15, my friend and mentor Dale Miller officially retired as the editor of National Hog Farmer following a 40-year career with the magazine.

After a 20-year relationship with National Hog Farmer as an associate editor, managing editor, contributing editor and digital editor, I stepped into the editor’s slot on July 15, to take my turn serving our readers and representing a publication and an industry that has been a central part of nearly my entire life.

Dale left big shoes to fill.

Not only am I following Dale, but also following in my father’s footsteps with my pork industry involvement. My father, Ralph Duxbury, retired after being a lifelong purebred breeder. His love for pigs (and a very specific breed of pigs), began with the purchase of his very first Berkshire sow in 1942.

I think my career path was destined even before I was born. My mother, Lois, is a retired Extension agent. She and my father met when she was taking a stroll through the open class swine barn at the South Dakota State Fair.

This “chance encounter” was facilitated by a fellow purebred breeder and neighbor from southeastern South Dakota, Russell Wirt.

My early connection to the pork industry continues with the family tale about how my father skidded into the driveway on a high-speed trip home from a Berkshire type conference. He was just in time to take my mother to the hospital hours before my arrival.

I grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm three miles northeast of Hurley, SD. 4-H was a central part of my formative years. My experiences with 4-H projects grew into a serious interest in both communication and pigs.

I got my first exposure promoting pork while serving as first a county, then state pork industry queen. This was followed by a communications coordinator internship with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC) while I was attending South Dakota State University (SDSU).

I consider myself really lucky to have been able to promote pork alongside some extremely committed producers by manning trade show booths, conducting numerous grocery store promotions and serving my fair share of pork loin sandwiches. I got the message early on that promoting our product from the grassroots level is very important.

First Job

My first job after graduating from SDSU with my degree in agricultural journalism and minor in animal science was as an information specialist for the National Live Stock and Meat Board in Chicago.

Moving to the “big city” to work in the agricultural field gave me a chance to see firsthand the power of a coordinated meat industry promotional effort on a national scale.

I joined National Hog Farmer as an associate editor just two months after Dale was named editor, arriving in December 1993. I joined a powerful editorial staff consisting of Joe Vansickle, Karen McMahon and then-recently retired National Hog Farmer editor Bill Fleming.

I learned a lot from these folks, and I consider it a real honor to be able to continue to work alongside Joe today. When it comes to covering pork industry news and swine health issues, Joe is without equal.

My husband, Dan, is a southwest Minnesota native with a livestock background, too. We have two teenage sons. Dan and I are 4-H leaders and spend some of our summer weekends supporting the Berg family sheep-showing tradition.

I am excited about stepping into the editor role. As always, we will continue to provide research-based information to help our pork producer readers with the business of pork production.

I often note that my home state of South Dakota is more like a club than a state. The pork industry is much the same. We are all in this together for the betterment of the industry.

In this new role, I look forward to serving you, our readers. Please feel free to send me an email at if you have thoughts about issues, events or the pork industry in general. We want to bring you information you can use in your operation right now.

Thanks for being part of the National Hog Farmer family! I’m looking forward to working on your behalf while covering pork industry news.  

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