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From farm kid to Farm Progress staff writer

Elizabeth Hodges tackles college and contest teams in pursuit of her dream career.

Elizabeth Hodges

February 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Elizabeth Hodges family’s farm in southeast Nebraska
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: My family’s farm in southeast Nebraska showed me the importance of agriculture. Now I will be able to write articles that educate and excite readers about my favorite industry. Elizabeth Hodges

by Elizabeth Hodges

If you would have told me that I was going to be a junior in college and doing my dream job, I would have thought you were crazy. But here I am, and I am so thankful and blessed for this opportunity.

In February, I became the new staff writer for Farm Progress. You might find my name familiar because last summer I was on staff as the Nebraska Farmer intern, where I wrote articles on the state’s ag industry.

After the summer, I received another call asking if I would be the Husker Harvest Days intern. I immediately said “yes” and met the whole Farm Progress family. I am excited to get started and bring relevant and interesting stories to you, the producers.

Where I come from

My family’s roots run deep in agriculture. I grew up on a third-generation purebred Berkshire hog operation in Julian, Neb. My dad, Michael, is a full-time farmer overseeing our family’s Hodges Family Berkshires. My mom, Christy, works off the farm as an ag teacher and FFA advisor.

Growing up on the farm was a great experience, especially with my three younger siblings — Abigail, Andrew and Caleb — doing chores and showing hogs at the county fair. Throughout my time in the Nemaha County 4-H program and the Johnson-Brock FFA chapter, I fell in love with different aspects of the agriculture industry. Of course, pigs still had my heart.

After graduating high school, I left home and traveled northeast to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in pursuit of a degree in agricultural and environmental science communications, with the goal of bridging the ag information gap between producers and consumers.

Telling ag story

While I am passionate about storytelling, I still love livestock.

As a freshman, I took an animal science class and realized it was important to know all aspects of the industry I would be communicating about. So here I am as a double major in ag communications and animal science, with a new goal of bringing important information to both consumers and producers.

While there is a lot of coursework that requires any college student to sit in a lecture hall and take notes, I’m an aggie. I enjoy hands-on learning opportunities.

Last semester, I was part of the Meat Judging Team where I learned about the processing industry and discovered a passion for meat science. That led me to my current spot on the UNL Livestock Judging Team where I travel the Midwest and into the South, judging livestock. These eye-opening experiences offer me a broader look at the impact of agriculture on the world around me.

Ultimately, the best part — whether college, competitive livestock judging or in this new job — is being able to talk to my fellow farmers. I look forward to offering the perspective of my generation on agriculture issues and to covering stories from Nebraska, the Dakotas, Kansas and across the Great Plains. See you around!

Read more about:

Next Generation

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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