Sherwood O. Berg Papers

South Dakota State University President Sherwood O. Berg sitting at a desk in his office in the Administration building

Identity elements

Reference code

UA 053.013

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Sherwood O. Berg Papers


  • 1940-2014, undated (Accumulation)


17.42 linear feet [17 record boxes, 1 document case-long]

Name of creator


Biographical history

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 Berg’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.

Name of creator

Administrative history

President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber on November 4, 1965 on which Sherwood O. Berg served as chairperson. President Johnson instructed the Commission to make an appraisal of agricultural and foreign trade policies; to conduct a study of the effects of agricultural policies on the performance of the economy and foreign relations; and to prepare a report, which would serve as a guide for future decisions and policies The work of the Commission was initially divided into six major areas: 1. Production and consumption trends and potentials in the world, 2. Policies for commercial agriculture, 3. Policies for the non-commercial sector of agriculture, 4. Policies for forestry and natural resources development, 5. Agricultural trade and foreign economic policies; and 6. The role of agriculture in world economic development. Five commissioners with staff and consultants were assigned to each area. / The full-time staff was small and included professional economists on leave from universities, from the federal government and from business. They were augmented by a group of consultants and experts from both the public and private sector. The Commissions research and study took many forms. Surveys were conducted; existing information was analyzed; position papers were prepared. The Commission was briefed by leading authorities and experts, and public hearings were held throughout the country. / The full Commission met 13 times over a period of 18 months for two or three days each time. At these meetings, the Commissioners heard testimony from leading authorities and experts and engaged in group discussions. The staff and consultants who later proposed recommendations prepared analyses and materials focusing on specific issues. / The Commission was made up of 31 members who represented agriculture, economics and labor throughout the United States. The chairperson was Sherwood O. Berg, who was Dean of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota at the time. The remaining members were Harry B. Caldwell, Willard W. Cochrane, C.W. Cook, George C. Cortright, Woodrow W. Diehl, Edmund H. Fallon, Carl C. Farrington, Frank Fernbach, Roscoe G. Haynie, Fred V. Heinkel, Roy Hendrickson, William A. Hewitt, George K. Hislop, J.G. Horsfall, Herbert J. Hughes, D. Gale Johnson, Herman S. Kohlmeyer, Robert Magowan, L.L. Males, Edward F. Mauldin, Paul Miller, W.B. Murphy, Ernest J. Nesius, Leon Schachter, Janice M. Smith, Lauren Soth, Jesse Tapp, Jay Taylor, Herman Wells, and John Wheeler.

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Scope and content

This collection is composed of the papers of Sherwood O. Berg. Material is composed of papers related to the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber, the United States Agency for International Development, organizations, biographical papers, and speeches. Also included is some material related to Berg’s term as president of South Dakota State University
The National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 4, 1965 on which Sherwood O. Berg served as chairperson. This material makes up the bulk of the collections and is composed of correspondence, reports, hearing and meeting records, and publications. This material covers a range of topics from cotton and hunger to agriculture and government policies.

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Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

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Conditions governing reproduction

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

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  • English

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Alternative identifier(s)




UA 53.13

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