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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.

Lora Berg 1

August 19, 2013

4 Min Read
Stepping Into Big Shoes on Pork Industry Path

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 [email protected] 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.  

About the Author(s)

Lora Berg 1

Editor, National Hog Farmer

Lora is the editor of National Hog Farmer. She joined the National Hog Farmer editorial team in 1993, served as associate editor, managing editor, contributing editor, and digital editor before being named to the editor position in 2013. She has written and produced electronic newsletters for Farm Industry News, Hay & Forage Grower and BEEF magazines. She was also the founding editor of the Nutrient Management e-newsletter.

Lora grew up on a purebred Berkshire operation in southeastern South Dakota and promoted pork both as the state’s Pork Industry Queen and as an intern with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. Lora earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Dakota State University in agricultural journalism and mass communications. She has served as communications specialist for the National Live Stock and Meat Board and as director of communications for the University of Minnesota College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. During her career, Lora earned the Story of the Year award from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and bronze award at the national level in the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ competition. She is passionate about providing information to support National Hog Farmer's pork producer readers through 29 electronic newsletter issues per month, the monthly magazine and nationalhogfarmer.com website.

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