Sherwood O. Berg was raised on a farm near Hendrum, Minnesota. All of his public schooling was taken at Hendrum where he participated in 4-H Club work for at least 10 years, earning honors in this area. His father died while he was a senior in high school and for a time, Berg took over the management of the home farm.
He attended the School of Agriculture on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota for two years. He entered South Dakota State College [SDSC] the fall of 1940. He choose to come to SDSC because of their agricultural program, the opportunity to place on the basketball team and to work so that he might contribute to paying his college expenses. In 1943, he entered military service where he remained until 1946. While Berg was in military service, he obtained U.S. Army, field infantry experience. During his last year of military service, he was Military Government Food and Agricultural Officer.
In 1946, Berg returned to South Dakota State. In 1947, he was granted the BS degree. In 1948, he was awarded an MS degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. In 1951, the University of Minnesota conferred the PhD degree on him. Following the completion of his work for the PhD, he was agricultural attache to Yugoslavia from 1951 to 1954 and to Norway and Denmark from 1954 to 1957.
In July 1957, Berg accepted the position of Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Minnesota. He held this position until June 1963. In July 1963, he accepted the position of Dean of the Institute of Agriculture, and Professor of Economics, University of Minnesota. During his tenure as Dean of the Institute of Agriculture, he served as chair of the President's National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber.
From 1973 to 1975, Berg was Director, The Indonesia Project of Midwest Universities Consortium. After his work in Indonesia he returned to the United States and to his Alma Mater, beginning his duties as President of South Dakota State University August 1, 1975. He became the first graduate of South Dakota State to be named president. He came to SDSU after serving as the director of the Indonesia Project of the Midwest University Consortium for International Affairs. During Bergâ€™s tenure, South Dakota State saw the internationalization of the campus. Collaborative programs were established in Syria, Botswana, Senegal, and Mauritania, and the number of international students on campus grew. In addition, he oversaw the groundwork for the first endowed chair for the university, the Ethel Austin Martin-Edward Moss Martin Chair in Human Nutrition. Berg retired from the presidency in 1984 and became president emeritus.
In 1952, Sherwood O. Berg married Elizabeth Ann Hall. They have two children, Mary Elizabeth and Bradley Joseph.