PPR Elizabeth Hodges

Elizabeth Hodges of Oak Hill Farms in Julian, Midwest Messenger Producer Progress Reporter

If one thing that has come out of this pandemic, it is the increased knowledge on how to maneuver technology. No matter if you are a tech savvy individual or just starting to get familiar with apps like Zoom or different social media platforms, we all can agree we are thankful for these capabilities.

With this understanding of technology we are able to somewhat gain closure on the school year, along with different activities. For me it was heartbreaking to have my last state FFA convention canceled. If any of you have been in FFA, you know the thrill of seeing all the corduroy jackets swarming downtown Lincoln. FFA/ag nerds come together to fraternize and compete, as we all worked hard to get to the state competition.

With the cancellation of the traditional setting of state FFA convention, it left our Nebraska FFA team searching for alternative ways to carry out these activities. On May 21 and 22, Nebraska had its very first virtual convention. With this new format we were able to honor those that received their state degree, including myself, hear the state officers’ retiring addresses. There was even a guest speaker as our National FFA Vice President, Lyle Logeman, spoke on giving a little try. Hearing wise words from the future leaders of agriculture is inspiring and motivational.

Luckily we were still allowed to somewhat compete in different contests that didn’t need to be in person to carry out. The two contests were proficiency awards and agriscience fair. My younger sister and I did a project together for the agriscience fair and placed second in the state, one place away from advancing to nationals.

Our project goal was to figure out the public’s perception of organic foods versus conventionally grown produce. We carried out a blind taste test and surveyed participants before they tasted the carrots on which they would rather buy in a grocery store if price wasn’t a factor. They would then take an organic carrot and a conventional carrot, not knowing which was which, and record their preference. It turns out that they said they would rather buy organic carrots, but in turn they liked the taste of conventional better.

In the end it might not have been the FFA convention I envisioned at the beginning of my senior year, but it is truly inspiring what we can do if we all come together to achieve something. And hey, we are all learning along the way. Like always, stay safe and healthy!