Steve Berger is famous in southeast Iowa for his history of no-till and he is fast becoming a household name when it comes to cover crops. In 2007, he planted 1,000 acres of rye on his farm near Wellman in Washington County. He also has a hog finishing operation.
He credits his dad with the beginning of their conservation efforts, who started no-tilling 30 years ago, when Steve was a young teen. He jokes, “That would make me a no-till baby.” He says he is more comfortable with no-till than he would be working with a disc or plow.
Steve has a passion for conservation farming. He likes to lead by example. “I’m really against mandates. So I think the best solution is to try to get it done ourselves. I felt the most successful when a neighbor called me up and said, ‘Things look good here; what are you doing here?’ I’m more than glad to help them out.”
“We have to make sure whatever we do in our operation is going to sustain agriculture for many years to come. There are a lot of farmers on my farm ahead of me and I sure hope there will be some that follow me. But it’s up to us to try to leave the farm better than it was when we got it.”
Steve and his wife, Julie, are involved in their local church and Rotary Club. They serve on the Rotary-District 6000 Youth Exchange Committee which sponsors 30 to 40 exchange students annually. He is also a member of the Washington County Pork Producers. Steve holds a B.S. from Iowa State University.