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Gen Z Aggie: Multiple generations in my family have gained from FFA, and they continue to give back.

Elizabeth Hodges, Staff Writer

March 5, 2024

3 Min Read
Elizabeth Hodges at FFA convention with family
IT’S TRADITION: Being in FFA brings a deeper meaning to the Hodges family. Our involvement stretches from being on the state officer teams, like my sister Abigail (center), to being advisors and supporting local chapters in other ways. Elizabeth Hodges

How many people can say they have been to more FFA state conventions than they remember? This is the case for most kids who grew up with an FFA advisor as a parent.

In the Hodges and Davis families, FFA is a rite of passage. Not only has everyone participated in FFA while in high school, but I also come from a long line of FFA advisors and family members that continually support the organization.

Last year, my sister Abigail was inducted as a 2023-24 Nebraska FFA vice president. “Proud” is an understatement for how I felt when her name was announced in front of the hundreds of FFA members and supporters.

Seeing her hard work and dedication to the organization, in combination with her leadership skills, was a top moment for my sister. Throughout this year, she has been able to inspire other FFA members and give back to the organization that has built her into the woman she is today.

Abigail is hanging up her jacket at the 2024 Nebraska FFA State Convention, where she welcomes the new officer team into this role. But her service to the FFA organization does not stop there. She is a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying ag education with the dream of one day being an ag teacher.

Learning to do

Aside from the fact that all of my family members have a blue corduroy jacket hanging in their closet, ag education has been a passion for us. It all started with my grandpa, Mike Davis. He made it his life goal to bring life to FFA chapters across the state.

He taught in Chappell for 27 years and then took a position at Hyannis to start a middle school chapter for that program. From there, he started programs in Anselmo-Merna and Sterling, totaling his service to ag education to 36 years.

Having a passion for agriculture and education, my mom applied to be a state officer and was a state vice president from 1995 to 1996. From there, she also pursued a career in ag education, where she has been teaching in District 1 for 25 years. She has seen a lot of success from her chapter, consistently making it to state and nationals.

Following my mom’s term in state office, my uncle Tim Hodges was a state vice president from 1996 to 1997.

My sister is no different. From seeing the active role that our grandpa, mom and uncle have had in the organization, she has made it her life goal to inspire others like she has been inspired.

Inspiring the next generation

My FFA experience was a little different than most. My freshman year at my high school, Johnson-Brock, we did not have a chapter. However, our school had a co-op opportunity where we were able to still be active in FFA via distance learning with Johnson County Central in Tecumseh.

Coincentially, my mom was the ag teacher there. I was still able to compete in my favorite contests such as cooperative speaking and livestock judging while taking classes through JCC.

My sophomore year, Johnson-Brock hired Dawn Metschke as our ag teacher to start up a program at our school. Since then, my alma mater has hired an additional ag teacher, Ashton Bohling, to be the co-advisor and jump-start the junior high program.

Being able to see the community involvement and support of this chapter post-graduation has been amazing. I can confidently say that my sister was inspired by these three ag teachers to pursue a career in ag education and become a state officer.

If you are involved in the agriculture industry, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your local FFA chapter to see how you can help them with your knowledge, or financially. With your support, we will be able to help young agriculturalists advance and grow the industry.

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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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