When Shana married dairy farmer Darin Berg in 1993, she had no interest in giving up her work off the farm. “Before we even walked down the aisle, I said ‘I’m not a farm girl, I don’t milk cows, and I have my own career.’” Then a series of personal crises caused Shana to re-assess what was important in her life. She wanted to stay closer to her kids, but as a professed workaholic, she had to have another job. So a few years back, she started raising organic laying hens whose eggs fill Organic Valley cartons. “It was the last thing I thought I’d ever do,” she says.
When her two sons are in school, Shana’s favorite place on the farm is her chicken barn. “I manage the birds carefully and I socialize them so they’re comfortable with me handling them and moving amongst them. I talk to them when I collect eggs. People think I’m nuts! In the winter I give them things to do, activities and things to play with so they don’t get bored and start picking on each other.”
She collects the eggs every day and does walk-throughs at least twice a day to check the waterers and feeders and to monitor the hens to make sure everyone’s healthy. “I work very hard at keeping them happy, because everything I do for them has an immediate and positive result.” While she’s checking the hens, Shana’s trusty Border Collie takes care of mouse patrol.
Shana is passionate about organic farming and about educating people on its benefits. “I am so grateful for my lifestyle, and I don’t take it for granted,” Shana says. “That means making good food choices for my family by being better educated about where our food comes from and making sure we’re providing that for other people. It’s a wonderful educational experience for our boys, because it shows them that everything we do matters not just to us, but to all the people around us. It’s like that magic circle: the benefits never end.”