2021 Tokyo Paralympic hopeful Kevan Hueftle spoke about the importance of perseverance to attendees of the virtual 2020 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and Specialty Grains Conference, which brought together more than 1,500 buyers and sellers representing nearly 70 countries to learn more about the competitive advantage that represents U.S. Soy.
During the session, “Dreaming of the Future,” Hueftle shared an optimistic yet gritty message of overcoming adversity and why challenges don’t define who we are. A self-described farmer, rancher, professional athlete, speaker, father, and husband, Hueftle has overcome a number of obstacles in his life and career. While he was competing as a college track athlete, a hunting accident led to the amputation of his left leg below the knee. After a bout with addiction, Hueftle moved forward with both his personal and professional life. He is now a husband and father and a Paralympic athlete.
Hueftle now balances training for the Tokyo Olympics and working on his family’s Nebraska farm, where he grows corn and soybeans and raises Red Angus cattle. Changing with circumstances is key to Hueftle’s outlook. Immediately following the accident, Hueftle didn’t want to acknowledge that amputation was even a possibility, but now looks at the amputation as one of the greatest days of his life.
The path was not always smooth, however, and Hueftle struggled with addiction. Even in recovery, he acknowledges that competing as a Paralympic can be difficult.
“The only way to actually grow in this world is to fail. It’s an amazing feeling to actually reach your goals.”
The GTE is hosted in partnership by the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance. Held annually, the GTE provides an opportunity for the entire soybean value chain, from farmers to exporters to importers, to connect with each other to create new business relationships.