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3 of my favorite summer field days

Gen Z Aggie: Summer field events offer opportunities to see research up close and network with other producers and friends.

Elizabeth Hodges, Staff Writer

June 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Participants learn best practices at summer field days
FIELD DAY FRENZY: Summer field days are some of my favorite events to cover. Here, you can learn more about best practices and learn what new precision ag topics are on the horizon. Elizabeth Hodges

Growing up on the farm, summer was always a busy time. My parents frantically ran us four kids from event to event. Whether it was softball or baseball games or preparing for the county fair, the Hodges family kept busy. Now that I am in the beginning part of my career, it really is no different.

I look forward to the summer months because that means that I can go to field days and conferences across Nebraska. Learning about the new research and technologies that are available for farmers and ranchers is one of my favorite parts of being an ag journalist. But I also find a lot of value learning about best practices and ways that producers can make small changes to better the environment and the bottom line.

While the number of events producers can attend can become overwhelming, here are my top three events to attend this year:

Nebraska Pork Expo. No matter what state you are from, the state expositions are a place where producers can learn about hot topics in the industry and gain new networking opportunities. Personally, my favorite sessions to sit in on are the producer panels. In these panels, the audience can learn from other producers to see what they are doing on their operation. To sign up for the Nebraska Pork Expo, set for July 17 at Holthus Convention Center in York, visit becomeafan.org.

Related:A thank-you letter to the industry

Courtesy of Elizabeth Hodges - Michael Hodges (left) with his daughter, Elizabeth Hodges (right), was a panelist at the Nebraska Pork Expo in 2023

Soybean Management Field Days. Anytime I can get into the field and see the research being conducted at our land-grant university, I am sure to go. It is always fascinating how researchers take the problems that producers have, whether it be pest management or a new tool that can increase efficiency or anything in between, and work on research to solve these issues. If you are a Nebraska soybean producer, be sure to check out Soybean Management Field Days, now in its 26th year. For times and places, visit extension.unl.edu.

Husker Harvest Days. Now I would be remiss if I did not mention one of my favorite times of the year: Husker Harvest Days, the granddaddy of all outdoor field events in the western Corn Belt. Here, there is more than just your favorite vendors with all their new bells and whistles on the market. If you are a beef producer or interested in the cattle industry, there are always well-respected speakers about beef production, along with side-by-side comparisons of working chutes.

If you raise crops, there are live demonstrations of harvest all around the show site. And do not forget to stop into the Hospitality Tent, where you can get market updates and learn more from the Farm Progress editors about their new finds and hear from the Nebraska governor as well. To learn more about Husker Harvest Days, set for Sept. 10-12 near Grand Island, Neb., visit huskerharvestdays.com.

If you attend one of these events, make sure to say hello and take in all the great information that can help your operation. And if you aren’t able to make these events, be sure to check out the local land-grant university in your region for summer field events and research plots to learn more about best practices and improving your bottom line.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Hodges

Staff Writer, Farm Progress

Growing up on a third-generation purebred Berkshire hog operation, Elizabeth Hodges of Julian, Neb., credits her farm background as showing her what it takes to be involved in the ag industry. She began her journalism career while in high school, reporting on producer progress for the Midwest Messenger newspaper.

While a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she became a Husker Harvest Days intern at Nebraska Farmer in 2022. The next year, she was hired full time as a staff writer for Farm Progress. She plans to graduate in 2024 with a double major in ag and environmental sciences communications, as well as animal science.

Being on the 2022 Meat Judging team at UNL led her to be on the 2023 Livestock Judging team, where she saw all aspects of the livestock industry. She is also in Block and Bridle and has held different leadership positions within the club.

Hodges’ father, Michael, raises hogs, and her mother, Christy, is an ag education teacher and FFA advisor at Johnson County Central. Hodges is the oldest sibling of four.

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