The history of agriculture education and research in Waseca, beginning with Robert Hodgson

The history of agriculture education and research in Waseca, beginning with Robert Hodgson

WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - Agriculture is a big part of life in southern Minnesota.

Waseca has a long history of agriculture and its impact spans this country and the globe.

The story of Waseca agriculture from the beginning starts with a name etched into history, Robert Hodgson.

“Robert Hodgson was born on October 26 in 1893 in Luverne, Minnesota,” said Joan Mooney, executive director of the Waseca County History Center.

Hodgson was monumental in southern Minnesota for the growth of agricultural education and research in the state, simply by combining his passions with his natural curiosity.

“He went on to the University of Minnesota and got a bachelor of science in 1916 and a master of science in 1930,” said Mooney.

Hodgson moved to Waseca in 1919 to become the superintendent of the University of Minnesota Southern Demonstration Farm and Experiment Station, now known as the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center.

“And about a few years later in 1953, they built and created the Southern School of agriculture and Bob Hodgson was the first administrator of that facility as well,” said Mooney.

The Southern School of Agriculture was an agricultural high school that was located in Waseca, built with funds from state legislature. The school existed until 1969.

“He was really in on the grassroots of all of that stuff and stayed in Waseca and we were so fortunate to have him,” said Mooney.

Hodgson also wrote columns for the local newspaper and was instrumental with the boys scouts in Waseca and the historical society.

“I think what impresses me about Mr. Hodgson is he was genuinely interested in just so many things,” said Mooney.

Hodgson passed away in 1968, but his memory and legacy lives on, rooted in the soil of the experiment station and the past Southern School of Agriculture.

He paved the path for Minnesota’s Agricultural Interpretive Center, Farmamerica, and the University of Minnesota, Waseca, the college that replaced the Southern School of Agriculture.

For more on the history of the University of Minnesota, Waseca, Farmamerica and those who are etched into the history of Waseca agriculture and still impacting it today, tune in to KEYC News now on Thursday.

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