Alan Bergman, former North Dakota Farmers Union president, and James Tilton, North Dakota State University animal range science professor emeritus, were inducted this spring in the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Bergman: Family farm advocate
Bergman spent his entire adult life as an advocate for cooperatives and family farm agriculture. After graduating from North Dakota State University, he returned home to Jud, N.D., to begin his farming career and took over the full operation of the family farm in the late 1970s. As NDFU president, Bergman led the organization during the turbulent times of the 1980s, when drought was the severest in 50 years and a credit crisis forced thousands of farmers out of business. He was one of four individuals who co-founded Dakota Pride Cooperative, a marketing co-op for specialty grains, oilseeds and soybeans, and was instrumental in exploring the farmer-rancher interest in forming cooperative feedlots and producer-owned slaughter plants. He forged coalitions with other groups, including Canadian farm organizations and cooperatives, and in 1994, was appointed by the Clinton administration to the U.S.-Canada Joint Grains Commission, which reviewed the grain industry and marketing within each nation. In 1997, he was appointed to the USDA’s task force on research facilities, to devise a 10-year strategic plan to assure the existence of adequate research facilities for agriculture and U.S. producers. He represented North Dakota producers on the world stage as well when, in 2004, he served as chairman of the Group on Grains and Oilseeds of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.
Berman’s honors include NDSU’s Agriculturist Award, a Soil Conservation Achievement Award and the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award to Agriculture and to World Agriculture. Bergman and his wife, Pauline, raised four children on the original Bergman homestead and continue to reside there today.
Tilton: NDSU faculty and research leader
Tilton served as a faculty member and research scientist on the NDSU campus from 1965 to 2002. He taught courses in reproductive physiology, endocrinology and swine production; served on over 100 college committees and was chairman on numerous committees. Tilton developed the curriculum to initiate an equine studies program, a program which today has over 50 majors, and also developed an online interactive course for two state universities to simultaneously teach a large animal reproductive course at both sites. He has published over 100 articles on swine reproduction and traveled extensively in Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia, discussing management of swine herds.
Tilton’s honors include NDSU’s College of Agriculture Excellence in Teaching Award, the Advanced Degree Graduate of Distinction Award from Oklahoma State University, the Fargo Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Professor Award, the Alpha Zeta Honor Society Teacher of the Year Award, the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture, and the Medallion of Merit from the University of Warmia and Mazury, Olstyn, Poland, for “fruitful and long-standing scientific cooperation” with the Institute of Animal Physiology.
Tilton and his wife, Judy, currently reside in Fargo. They have four children, Jolene, Brian, Jeffrey and Lisa; 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.