The Arias M. Brownback Memorial Scholarship Fund—founded in 2001 by his parents—offers small grants to young farmers that enable them to attend our annual sustainable agriculture conference. The scholarship fund serves to inspire and support young farmers, and help them fulfill their potential.
You can donate directly to this memorial fund on our donate page.
Arias Brownback was raised on his family farm in western Perry County, helping with the farrow-to-finish hog operation along with growing hay and grain crops. From an early age, Arias expressed an interest in farming. He loved to be with his father, working all aspects of the farm.
When Arias was 15, the Brownback family decided to pursue their lifelong dream to transition to organic farming. They left their conventional hog and grain operation behind, and began growing certified organic produce and hay.
Arias attended his first PASA conference at the age of 18. Seeing fellow farmers who were dedicated to sustainable practices was inspiring to Arias, energizing him to begin his own certified-organic operation that same year—Native Water Organics.
He loved plants and possessed a keen ability to understand their needs. He grew high quality crops and was proud of it. In his first season, he rented 15 acres, erected two greenhouses, purchased a refrigerated truck, built a mini-packing shed and loading dock, and began a successful wholesale market operation. Later, he returned to his home farm and added his zest for hard work, knowledge of growing techniques, and quest for ever-improving methods to the family farm operation.
Arias Brownback passed away suddenly in August 2001 at the young age of 24, long before he was able to realize his dreams. For many, he left behind precious memories of his unique brightness.