Thursday, June 18, 2015

From the AFBF Spark Conference

NFL Player quits game to Farm

Charlotte—“I’m humbled by it all,” said Jason Brown, the former St. Louis Ram that quit the NFL to start a farm of his own.

Brown addressed the lunch crowd at the American Farm Bureau SPARK conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's rare in a football-mad country for a player at the top of the game would quit to farm.

In 2009, the mountain of a man signed a five-year, $37.5 million dollar contract with the Rams making him the highest-paid center in the NFL. But it wasn’t enough because he felt a calling, something that would benefit fellow man.

Six years later Brown has never been happier. He’s now just a farmer who works with the simple goal of feeding the hungry. He runs a 1,000-acre farm with his growing family and still uses YouTube to figure out how to grow crops.

“You can learn anything from YouTube, I do my own plumbing, wiring, carpentry, and farming all learned from YouTube,” he says.

Brown was drafted 124th overall in 2005 out of the North Carolina and played nine seasons in the NFL before getting cut by the Rams in the spring of 2012.

At 29, Brown knew he had plenty of playing years ahead of him. But still in demand. He had offers from a lot of teams including the Baltimore Ravens.

It was tempting but Brown says it was time to give back, “God whatever you have in store for me,” he prayed. “I do it for you. I wanted to find a way to better serve man and you.” 

He walked away from the game at the top of his career and legions of fans were surprised. ESPN magazine even ran a story called “The Curious Case Of Jason Brown.”

“Everyone said you're making the biggest mistake of your life,'" Brown told the crowd and said, “But I didn’t. Of all the things, God wanted me to farm."

By trial and error, Brown got the farm up and going the first year he raised a modest 5 acres of vegetables. Along the way church groups and inner city kids heard about his cause and helped with the harvest. The gleaners and harvest volunteers are now part of Brown's farm ministry.

It’s a long way from Idaho,and the NFL and North Carolina, but Brown says farming is universal and sustains life and is the best way to serve mankind.

To this day, everything he grows he donates. This past year he celebrated his greatest harvest thus far, giving away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers.

 Like any farmer he has seeds in the ground and is watching this years crop grow, hoping for a good year and instead of worrying about the Superbowl he just watches.

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