Iowa Farm Bureau and the University of Iowa Athletics Department announced former Hawkeye great and NFL star, Tony Moeaki as the 2022 America Needs Farmers (ANF) Wall of Honor recipient. Moeaki marks the 10th former Hawkeye with a permanent place on the prestigious ANF Wall of Honor, which salutes past University of Iowa football players who exemplify the tenacity, work ethic and character of the Iowa farmer.
Moeaki earned respect throughout his playing days not only for his on-field success for the Hawkeyes and seven years in the NFL, but also for his dedication, commitment to hard work and constant improvement, making him a natural fit for the ANF Wall of Honor.
“The ANF Wall of Honor is comprised of several great former Hawkeyes, but when it comes to the true meaning of ANF and celebrating the work ethic and character shaped by Iowa’s farming heritage, you’re hard pressed to find anyone who worked harder than Tony Moeaki,” said University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz. “Tony earned accolades for his play on the field, but he was also a natural leader. His fight and determination to overcome injuries and adversity while getting stronger and improving his game earned respect from those who knew him, and that dedication and drive is what ANF is all about.”
Moeaki arrived in Iowa City as a heralded five-star high school recruit and saw on-field action during his freshman season, immediately making an impact as a pass catcher and run blocker. Moeaki persevered through a variety of injuries during his career with the Hawkeyes, regularly earning team leadership roles and named to pre-season award watch lists, including serving as offensive team captain in 2009 and recognition as an All-Big Ten tight end. Following a decorated collegiate career, Moeaki was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2010 NFL Draft and scored a touchdown in his first game as a professional on Monday Night Football. He spent parts of seven seasons in the NFL and retired prior to the start of the 2016 season.
Like most Iowans, Moeaki didn’t grow up on the farm, but farming is still a part of his family’s legacy and something he credits when discussing his character and work ethic that embodies ANF. Moeaki’s grandfather farmed in Tonga, raising livestock, grain and fish. The farming operation provided enough food for his family and others in their community and generated enough savings to eventually bring his family to the United States.
“I am proud to have worn the ANF sticker on my University of Iowa football helmet, and being recognized as this year’s recipient for the ANF Wall is a tremendous honor,” Moeaki said. “With my grandfather’s farming background and career playing for the University of Iowa, I’ve always had a strong affinity for agriculture and the farmers who raise our food, so it means a lot to be acknowledged as someone who shares that same dedication.”
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), Matt Kroul (2019) and Marshal Yanda (2021).
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. This year marks the 37th anniversary of ANF and its longstanding tribute to America’s farmers.
“The annual ANF game presents a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of agriculture to Iowa and the nation, and it provides an opportunity for Hawkeye fans to meet Iowa farmers and learn about the diversity of agriculture in our state and farmers’ commitment to sustainability,” says IFBF President Brent Johnson. “Tony Moeaki is a natural fit for the ANF Wall of honor and reflects everything ANF stands for– strong work ethic, determination, a commitment to improving and doing things the right way.”
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, Iowa Farm Bureau 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 Oct. 1 ANF game against the University of Michigan, on-field sideline access, a football autographed by Ferentz and ANF Hawkeye gear. For a chance to win, go to IowaFarmBureau.com/
For more information about ANF and Game Day activity announcements in the coming weeks, visit www.americaneedsfarmers.org.