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December 27, 2023
Farm wives are rock stars. There is no stronger love than the love that a farm wife has for agriculture and her family. My parents will be celebrating 24 years of marriage on Feb. 12, all of which they have spent raising Berkshire hogs and four children.
But what stands out the most in my parents’ marriage is the dedication they have to the community and agriculture. My mother especially takes this dedication to heart. No matter how the markets are looking or challenges that come up around her, I can always count on my mom, a farm wife, to stay strong.
Christy Hodges, my mom, is going on her 25th year of teaching agricultural education and being the FFA advisor at Johnson County Central in Tecumseh, Neb. After attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she started teaching at Nemaha Valley and followed the school merger with Tecumseh.
I do not think that my mom, who is originally from Chappell, Neb., ever imagined her life raising hogs in southeast Nebraska. In the western part of the state, she grew up around cattle, horses and wheat. One of my first memories of visiting Mom’s part of the state is the realization that tumbleweeds were real, not just on TV shows.
Tumbleweeds aside, her ag education roots run deep. My grandpa, Mike Davis, is a retired FFA advisor. He has taught at various schools and even started new FFA chapters in schools across Nebraska.
If you cannot tell that my family is involved in FFA in many levels yet, Mom was an FFA state vice president when she was a sophomore in college. My sister, now following her steps, is an FFA state vice president this year.
It is the example Mom set of involvement and hard work that all of us kids followed. As the oldest, this example is paying dividends as I enter the industry.
My mom’s role as a farm wife and ag teacher goes far beyond just making meals after a long day’s work. Her “mom car” that has the capability of toting around all of us kids is dual purposed, bringing sow cubes and other feeds for the hogs from the feed store back to the farm.
Mom is simply one phone call away for a ride or a trip into town for a part. But what I think is truly the most impressive is how she inspires her students, children and everyone around her to be the best that they can be and make a positive change in the community.
I distinctly remember every agriscience fair project that I or my siblings did, there had to be a need in the industry, a purpose for doing the experiment. While it would be fun to make a volcano or any other typical science fair project, we looked at how we could improve the land or industry around us.
For example, my brother Caleb just did a project on how to naturally rid the garden of squash bugs. In our area these insects overtook gardens, munching on leaves and decimating produce. Going the extra mile, Mom helped my little brother collect squash bugs and test which product was the most effective, other than using Sevin.
The farm wife is an integral part of every operation, and they make a difference in their communities. Before the planters start rolling out of the sheds next year, make sure to thank farm wives around you. They are putting in work behind the scenes that truly makes a difference on the farm.
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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