WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Farm Bureau and the University of Iowa Athletics Department recognize former Hawkeye great and 13-year NFL star Marshal Yanda as the 2021 America Needs Farmers (ANF) addition to the Wall of Honor. Yanda is the ninth recipient of the ANF Wall of Honor, which salutes former University of Iowa football players who exemplify the tenacity, work ethic and character of the Iowa farmer.
Iowa Farm Bureau and the Hawkeyes will celebrate America’s farmers and the important role agriculture plays in our daily lives during the annual ANF Game Day, Saturday, Oct. 9 at Kinnick Stadium. Yanda, a native Iowan and decorated former NFL All-Pro guard, represents the fifth generation raised on his family’s dairy farm five miles north of Anamosa, and he credits his on-field success to his farm upbringing and watching his parents work diligently milking cows twice a day, 365 days a year.
“The things I learned growing up on the farm, like pride and work ethic, took me to the highest level of professional sports and winning a Super Bowl, but that all started right here on the farm,” said Yanda. “Those values were instilled in me by my parents and it’s how I live my life today, and I still carry those lessons with me every day.”
Long before reaching the pinnacle of professional football and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy following the Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl win, Yanda was an Iowa farm kid with tenacity and a dream. Yanda was a star player for North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) during his freshman and sophomore collegiate seasons, but nobody envisioned that a decade later Yanda would be widely considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. Following two years at NIACC, Yanda transferred to the University of Iowa to play his final two seasons for Moon Family head coach Kirk Ferentz and collected numerous awards and accolades before being selected in the third round of the NFL draft. Yanda credits that success to the work ethic he learned from his parents on the farm. The commitment to continuous improvement that embodied Yanda’s football career is something he also sees in agriculture.
“Farmers are always trying to do better and improve the care for the animals; treating animals with care and respect is how we make our living,” Yanda said. “There are a lot of farmers doing great things and working to make things better every day, and it’s great to be a part of.”
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), Aaron Kampman (2018) and Matt Kroul (2019).
“Agriculture is a huge part of our daily lives. From buying vegetables and meat in the grocery store to just needing food and fuel to live, it’s clear that everything comes from farming,” said Yanda. “I’m happy to be a part of ANF to help shed some light on the importance of farming.”
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 36th anniversary of ANF, a longstanding tribute to America’s farmers, and the 10th year IFBF and the 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.
“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. “Marshal Yanda embodies everything ANF is all about– his farm strong work ethic, pride in Iowa agriculture and doing things the right way. We are grateful to add another exemplary former Hawkeye to the ANF Wall of Honor.”
During the ANF Game Day on Oct. 9, fans can stop by the ANF Legends Tent at Krause Family Plaza to meet farmers who grow and raise their food, play games to win great prizes and get autographs from former Hawkeye and NFL greats, including Yanda. 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. Since the ANF partnership began, more than $180,000 has been raised to feed hungry Iowans.
Additionally, IFBF and the Hawkeyes have teamed up for the “ANF Game Day Experience” contest where one lucky fan will win the experience of a lifetime including four tickets to the ANF game, on-field sideline access, a football autographed by Ferentz and ANF gear. For a chance to win, go to IowaFarmBureau.com/ANFExperience and take a short, multiple-choice quiz to see how Iowa farmers are providing our daily diets with high quality proteins while also responsibly caring for the environment and their animals. The contest will run Aug. 30 through Sept. 30 with the winner announced shortly after. Fans can enter every day of the contest period, with one daily entry per valid email address.
For more information about ANF and Game Day activities, visit www.americaneedsfarmers.org.