This past week the UpField Group was privileged to serve as the keynote speaker for the Northwest Ohio Ag Business Breakfast Forum, hosted by CIFT. The title of the presentation: The Intersection between Agriculture and Sports. An unfamiliar topic for some, but two topics we are very familiar with at UpField.
We are passionate about ag and sports at UpField and now is a great time to discuss the intersection between the two industries. Farmers are in the fields as harvest is in full swing. Baseball season is in the playoffs, football is in mid-season form, and the basketball and golf seasons are just getting underway. Pumpkin spice and apple cider are your basic beverages, and sports fans are tailgating; drinking beers, grilling burgers, brats and dogs. October is the best month for Agriculture and Sports, but that is just my opinion. And here in the Midwest, we are right in the middle of it all. As I drove to Ohio, I took note of all the different crops and farms I passed. In just a three-hour drive, I passed fields of grapes, apples, pumpkins, hops, hay, tomatoes, wheat, soy beans and corn, as well as beef cattle, goats, sheep, and horses grazing in pasture. There were a few dairy farms and hog farms along the way, and I even saw a sign for free range eggs for sale. There was a turf farm in Ohio as well as potatoes and sugar beets.
We have an abundance of fertile soil and easy access to fresh water in this part of the country, which makes all of this possible. Interestingly, most of these crops find their way to a sports stadium, or a tailgate, where we as sports fans consume them. While we do not usually think of agriculture when we are watching our favorite team, it is an extremely important part of the game. Without agriculture and farms, we would not have much to choose from at the concession stand, and if the game is being played on natural grass, the field came from a farm. The uniforms the players are wearing were first cotton, grown on a farm.
At the Ag Business Breakfast Forum, we talked about the various ways ag and sports are connected, and it’s not just about the food. The partnerships that exist between the two industries are creating value for the fans and the businesses, and we took a look at how the National Dairy Council and the NFL has been at the forefront of connecting fans of the NFL, to the dairy industry, through the youth program, Fuel Up to Play 60. A program that encourages students to eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy; as well as spotlights the importance of getting 60 minutes of play every day. Through the NFL players that participate in the program as spokespersons, and the farmers that provide support and funding, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a shining example of sports and agriculture working together for the greater good.
The next time we find ourselves at a ball game and order a beer and a cheeseburger, take a timeout and enjoy the work of the hops farmer that started the beer-making process, as well as the farmers who produced the milk that made the cheese, and the rancher that raised the beef. It’s all connected, and sports provides a platform for all of us to enjoy it.