He grew up a small-town Iowa boy, whose experience with farming growing up was limited to spending hot summer days detasseling and a fourth-grade essay detailing his desire to be a pig far-mer.
But, that lack of experience did not prevent Casey Wiegmann from being the first former Iowa Hawkeye named to the Iowa Farm Bureau’s ANF Wall of Honor.
WIEGMANN WAS was selected from a “very, very long list of deserving athletes,” said Dennis Fresno, executive president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, at a press conference Oct. 19, before Iowa’s weekend game against Penn State University.
The America Needs Farmers (ANF) effort was begun in the mid-1980s by former Iowa coach Hayden Fry as a means of raising the awareness of the importance of farming, during a time when farmers faced severe financial stress.
The black-and-gold ANF decal on the Hawkeye helmets was the effort’s signature.
IN RECENT years, the Iowa Farmer Bureau has partnered with the University of Iowa’s athletic department to resurrect the effort. The ANF Wall of Honor in the northwest corner of Kinnick Stadium is part of that effort.
Wiegmann’s football career began at the Aplington-Parkersburg School District under legendary high school coach Ed Thomas.
After graduation, he went on to become a stalwart on the offensive line at Iowa, graduating in 1995.
He went on to a long professional career, where he was a mainstay with the Kansas City Chiefs for eight seasons before retiring this year after a two-year stint with the Denver Broncos.
Wiegmann lives with his family in the Kansas City area.
However, he has maintained his Iowa ties by partnering with friend and fellow football player, Jared DeVries, to buy 1,250 acres of farmland in the Clear Lake and Aplington areas.
“It was a way for me to keep my roots in Iowa,” said Wiegmann.
HE ADMITTED during the press conference to being a passive partner in the venture, but he guessed DeVries may be in the seat of a combine harvesting crops. “The people of the state of Iowa are too good not to want to spend time with them,” said Wiegmann.