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Iowa Farm Bureau and University of Iowa Athletics team up to unveil new ANF Plaza in Kinnick Stadium celebrating the importance of agriculture in Iowa

Matt Kroul
Matt Kroul, former Hawkeye and Iowa farmer, has been named the 2019 ANF Wall of Honoree

Iowa Farm Bureau and the University of Iowa Athletics will celebrate America’s farmers at the ninth annual America Needs Farmers (ANF) Game Day, Saturday, Oct. 12 at Kinnick Stadium.  The highly anticipated game against Penn State University  kicks off at 6:30 p.m. showcasing why Hayden Fry’s famous ANF program is still important today. 


As part of the annual celebration of the importance of Iowa agriculture, fans will have the opportunity to win exclusive ANF/Hawkeye prizes such as clear ANF bags, koozies, lighted bracelets and more, while learning how Iowa agriculture plays a major role in our daily lives.  From 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m., fans are encouraged to visit the ANF Legends Tent, located in Krause Family Plaza, to play tailgate games with farmers for a chance to win prizes and get autographs from former Hawkeye greats, including the new ANF Wall of Honoree, Matt Kroul.

“The annual ANF game is a great opportunity for fans to meet Iowa farmers and learn about the diversity of Iowa agriculture while celebrating its impact in Iowa and around the country,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “Iowa farmers are taking time away from harvest and are excited to celebrate with fans, showing them firsthand that farmers are dedicated to answering their questions and providing what our consumers want, which here in Iowa, especially during tailgating season, means healthy, nutritious meat options for the grill.”  

Kroul grew up on a family farm raising beef cattle, corn and soybeans before his successful collegiate career setting a University of Iowa record for 50 consecutive starts.  Kroul’s tenacity exemplifies the dedication and work ethic of the Iowa farmer.  A Solon native and star offensive lineman for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 2005-2008, Kroul spent a decade in the NFL following his outstanding career at Iowa and this year joins an esteemed list of former Hawkeyes to be enshrined on the ANF Wall of Honor.


Kroul Farms, a diverse farm with cattle, row crops, eggs, pumpkins, tomatoes, firewood, and even flowering plants, is now home for Kroul and his family, but Kinnick Stadium has long been a second home.  As a native Iowan with family farm ties, the honor was particularly rewarding for the former lineman, because he knows firsthand the story behind the sticker on the helmet and transitioned back to the farm field after retiring from the football field.  

“I enjoy the whole adage of reap what you sow and the work you put in is what you get,” Kroul says.  “Some days aren’t fun, some plays or games won’t go well, some workouts don’t go your way, but, especially these last six months and the way farming is, you just have to adapt, overcome, and succeed.”  

Kroul is the eighth recipient of the America Needs Farmers (ANF) Wall of Honor, which salutes former University of Iowa football players who exemplify the tenacity, work ethic, and character of the Iowa farmer.  Previous ANF Wall of Honor recipients include Casey Wiegmann (2012), Jared DeVries (2013), Bruce Nelson (2014), Robert Gallery (2015), Dallas Clark (2016), Chad Greenway (2017), and Aaron Kampman (2018). 

Fans in the stands will also be able to take part in an ultimate ANF gigapixel selfie – a high-resolution, 360-degree interactive photo that allows fans to zoom in and find themselves in the stadium, then share through social media and email.  Fifty lucky fans who can find the ANF Herky in the gigapixel stadium photo will also be entered into a drawing to win “Free Pizza for a Year.”

A gold ANF decal was placed on players’ helmets during the Hawkeyes’ 1985 Rose Bowl season by head coach Hayden Fry to show support for farmers during the 1980’s Farm Crisis.  The Hawkeye helmets still have the special decal on them today.  This year marks the 34th anniversary of ANF, a longstanding tribute to America’s farmers, and the ninth year IFBF and University of Iowa have partnered to help connect Iowa’s farm families to consumers to learn more about the production of food, fuel, and fiber. 

Fans can show their ANF and Hawkeye pride by purchasing ANF merchandise during game day in shops around the stadium with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Iowa Food Bank Association. Sales from ANF merchandise have raised nearly $170,000 to feed hungry Iowans since the partnership began. 

For more information about ANF and Game Day activities, visit www.americaneedsfarmers.org.



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