For many, it may sound unquestionable to quit a fledgling career in the National Football league (NFL) and a contract totaling $37.6 million to venture into farming. But for Jason Brown, the move was more of a divine calling to find his purpose on earth. And so when the time came for him to abandon his NFL career mid-way through his contract, he did not hesitate.
Brown signed his five-year multimillion-dollar contract with St. Louis Rams in 2009. He was subsequently demoted as a center player by his coach after two years. He could have stayed to fight for his position but he heeded a divine call that said his career did not lie in football.
He walked out of the NFL at the age of 29 much to the surprise of his colleagues, family members, and friends. “People tell me that I’m crazy, they downright tell me that I’m stupid–OK?–to walk away from millions of dollars. Because if you have the opportunity to play in the NFL, it’s supposed to be a no-brainer,” Brown told Tamron Hall Show.
“God told me he had something greater in store for me,” Brown noted of his move. He moved his family back to his home state of North Carolina and started a farm. Brown literally knew next to nothing about farming and so he studied it on Youtube to improve his knowledge of his ‘divine’ profession.
At the time Brown made the decision to move back to his home state of North Carolina, his wife, Tay, had invested years studying to become a dentist and getting established in practice. Therefore, moving to North Carolina with her husband meant suspending her career.
“This is when Tay and I made a covenant with God and told Him that whatever place He blessed us with, we would name it First Fruits Farm and that his people would receive the firstfruits of whatever is produced from the land,” Brown said.
In 2012, Brown received a 1000 acre land farm in Franklin County, North Carolina. For him, work had just begun. He used the whole of 2013 to put the land in shape, applying God’s divine direction to him. That gave birth to First Fruits Farm in Louisburg, North Carolina.
The year 2014 turned out to be a success with a host of events on the farm. First, they hosted the first annual youth fishing derby, and research opportunities were made available to grad students of NC State University.
In addition, Brown and Tay were blessed with “gleaning and harvest opportunities in a collaborative effort with the Society of St. Andrews, the Innerfaith Food shuttle, and the Food Bank of Eastern North where more than 10,000 pounds of cucumbers and 100,000 pounds of sweet potatoes were donated for local hunger relief efforts,” Brown said.
According to Shoppe Black, since 2014, First Fruits Farm has provided more than 1.6 million servings of fresh produce.