Minorities in agriculture, while small, still hold a high spot in agriculture no matter the discipline. According to the USDA Blog, “Women Farmers: One Million Strong“, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan stated that, “When all women involved with farming are added up – including primary and secondary operators – they are nearly one million strong and account for 30% of U.S. farmers.” This is exciting news for agriculture, but even more so the individuals who you and I would never think of become interested in agriculture.
In this instance, it would be safe to say that Jason Brown and his wife are one in a million. Jason Brown, once a center in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams, left his $37 million dollar contract to farm with his family. Maybe one of the only NFL players to own a farm and run the operation, we in the agricultural community are excited he and his wife joined us.
LOUISBURG, N.C. - At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.
At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.
And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.
“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”
So what could possibly trump the NFL?
You wouldn’t believe.
Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.
Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:
“Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos.”
He learned how to farm from Youtube.
Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.
“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.
“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”
But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”
See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.
“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”
Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.
“Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.
“Are you sure you played in the NFL?” I asked.
“Because I feel like cuddling you right now.”
“Don’t do that!” he said.
Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.