The past two weeks have been crazy in the Hodges household as we adjust to online schooling being in full swing. As a senior, it is easy to get frustrated because COVID-19 has caused everything to come to an abrupt end. Our family has gone from being “gone” nearly every evening for extracurricular activities to being at home every night. Every. Night. However, I have been able to look forward to different events that hopefully will still have the chance to happen, like NAYI (Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute) and the Nemaha County Fair.
Another event that has kept my mind off of the current pandemic is a manure/mulch project that the Johnson-Brock FFA Chapter has partnered with UNL for. There is a surplus of mulch every year so UNL grad students are trying to learn how beneficial that mulch would be for the soil when combined with manure as fertilizer. There are four test plots looking at the following: mulch only, manure only, both manure and mulch, and a control plot. One of the sites this year is on our farm utilizing our land and hog manure.
I can confidently speak on behalf of the Johnson-Brock FFA Chapter that we are excited to take part in this experiment to help reduce waste and increase yield. Not only will the UNL students be able to gain valuable information, but high school students from my chapter will be able to take part in an experiment outside of the classroom. This hands-on, real life application of plant science is exactly what FFA is all about. Check out my future articles for updates on how the project is going. Until then, stay safe and healthy! — Elizabeth Hodges