So, I’m not an Iowa or Iowa State fan. Joining TGS gave me an amazing opportunity to write and publish pretty much whatever I want and work with awesome people, but the universe always finds balance. The amazingness of this group of people is offset by the fact that it has pulled me into one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen – this CyHawk BS over the acronyms #ANF (American Needs Farmers) and #AHF (Actually Helps Farmers.)
TL;DR of this thing, for our mythical readers from outside of Iowa: From what I can tell, back during the farm crisis of the 80’s, Iowa’s Head Coach put a sticker on a helmet, gear continues to be sold, and contributions benefit some charity and the Iowa Farm Bureau. (Yay, good job Hawkeyes on bringing awareness with your top ranked FB team!) Iowa State fans are cranky because they’re the ag school (Yay, good job doing the actual field work of this thing, Cyclones!) and Iowa stole their farmer helping thunder. Iowa fans are cranky because Little Brother is out here Little Brothering all over the Twitter.
The takes are fast and furious. There are think pieces from every sports media site dealing with the two schools, and fan created memes flying. From my viewpoint in Boise, this is 1000% pure off season BS, and y’all need to learn a lesson or two from the state that gets confused for you guys a bunch.
You want football to support agriculture? Rivalry trophies, fan t-shirts, and helmet stickers are nice, but nationally televised bowl games are better.
You all want people talking about your corn, buying it, and being so proud of the crops your farmers grow that you have to talk about it every time you leave the state with strangers? Build what amounts to a huge tough parade float and send it across the country for a year, complete with commercials during sports events.
Get the state to make every car that drives out of Iowa do part of the advertising. Corn is known in “the midwest.” Make that market your bitch!
What can the universities do? Be more like Boise State and Idaho. We are, in the end, always going to be in-state rivals even if the games stop being played due to…circumstances. Idaho will always be the ag school, doing big research things with big research funds. However, Iowa State can augment that by using their expertise to help in different ways. For example, Potatoes. Idaho does the scientific observation on everything from soils management to crop storage, and gets that stuff out through the Extension office system to farmers in outlying areas, as designed in the 1914 Smith-Lever Act. It’s invaluable research and information, and the University of Idaho is very good at both doing the thing and spreading the knowledge. However, other universities are helping in other ways. Boise State and Idaho State have been issued a grant recently to work with two private sector companies to come up with a way to network an early detection system for rot sensors in storage facilities to be able to alert growers to problems much earlier. Sure, we give each other shit over sports and grad rates and academics all the time, but we know that end the end, everybody is working toward the same goal – helping the citizens of our state through education. In the end, all three state schools are #ATF (Attack The Future.)
I don’t know if Iowa and Iowa State do something similar (if they are, nobody on twitter is talking about it,) but if they do both support farmers out in the fields with research and tech knowledge, then the fan bases would do well to keep that in mind during the this trash talk fest.
So, Iowa, maybe strive to be more like Idaho. More fun rivalry, less angry ridiculousness, more putting
potatoes corn on all the things.