For decades, the football program at the University of Iowa has filled its ranks with young men who grew up in the "Hawkeye State", and included among those rosters were plenty of talented, driven young men who grew up on an Iowa farm or in a farming community. Their commitment to detail, acceptance of responsibility, sharp minds and solid work ethic were honed on farms of all sizes and in all corners of the state.
These hard-working young men remember the pride they felt when their farm heritage was shown to the world through the America Needs Farmers emblem. It's a feeling they carry with them today, long after they "swarmed" the playing field at historic Kinnick Stadium for the final time.
Their stories of what it takes to be Farm Strong are told here.
Matt Kroul is part of a farm family that goes back to the 1860s. He grows produce, corn, and soybeans, and raises beef cows on his diversified farm. He’s involved with community-supported agriculture (CSA) and is an integral part of the local food system. Matt believes that losing agriculture would take away the foundation of what Iowa really is. It’s the small towns many of us live in, it’s the hundreds of products made from the crops farmers here grow, and it’s the perseverance against unpredictability and challenges. Matt is a shining example of why America Needs Farmers, embracing the mindset of “adapt, overcome, and succeed” that he showed on the field and puts to work on his farm.
Iowa City-native, and NFL Pro-Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding has joined the roster of former Hawkeye and NFL stars supporting the ANF campaign to raise awareness about the food and energy options that today’s farmers provide. He has spent quite a bit of time on his aunt and uncle’s Muscatine County farm growing up, which has led to his deep-rooted respect for today’s farmers. Kaeding talks about why farming is especially important to him today now that he has started a second career as a restaurateur.
Chad Greenway grew up on a family farm near Mount Vernon, South Dakota, where he helped his family grow crops and raise pigs. The work ethic and determination he learned on the farm has helped all throughout his career. Just as he puts it on the line every game day, he knows first-hand that farmers put it on the line every day to grow our country’s food and fiber. Greenway talks about the importance of farming and how it’s the foundation on which our country stands.
Dallas Clark, a small-town Iowa boy from Livermore, takes great pride in his Iowa upbringing. Growing up in Iowa taught him the value of hard work and that no obstacle is too hard to overcome, the very same values he took to the football field everyday while playing at the University of Iowa where he earned All-American honors and was recognized as the top college tight end in the nation. Clark talks about his love for the state of Iowa, our farmers and why he's proud to be part of this ANF initiative.
Jared DeVries grew up on a family farm near Aplington, Iowa, helping his father grow crops and learning values like hard work, dedication and determination. He took his farm-learned work ethic on to the University of Iowa, where he developed into an all All-Big Ten defensive tackle (1995-1998) and second-team All American. DeVries talks about ANF, what it means to him, our state and our country.
Casey Wiegmann grew up in Parkersburg, Iowa and although he never farmed, his father has worked for John Deere for the past 35 years, so farming and agriculture have always been a part of his life. As a kid he helped local farmers by detassling. Wiegmann played at the University of Iowa from 1991-1995 and earned second team All-Big Ten honors as an offensive linemen. Wiegmann shares his thoughts on ANF, why it's important, and what it meant for him to wear the decal while playing for Hayden Fry.
Mike Haight and Hap Peterson were Co-Captains of the one of the greatest Hawkeye football teams of all time: the 1985 Hawkeyes, a team that went 10-1, won the Big Ten championship, spent five weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation and went to the 1986 Rose Bowl. Haight, a former All-Big Ten offensive lineman, and Peterson, a former All Big-Ten defensive lineman, talk about Hayden Fry's idea of putting ANF on their helmets during the '85 season to show support for our country's farm families who were struggling through a major farm crisis.