GOODHUE -- In his junior year, Jared Luhman realized he had to choose between FFA and football. The decision was easy.
"I began FFA my freshman year in high school, when my father tried to get me involved in livestock judging," said Luhman, who graduates June 3 from Goodhue High School.
"He wanted me to become involved because we have a beef farm a few miles out of town and he wanted me to be able to tell the difference between a good and a bad animal."
Luhman never got into general livestock judging, but he knows his father, Jon Luhman, wasn't disappointed.
"I became very involved in the leadership side of FFA," Luhman said.
He decided to concentrate on FFA and academics his senior. It just became more difficult to manage it all, he said, and when he had to cut something, FFA won out.
He also stuck with National Honor Society.
According to Holly Fifield, when her son sets his mind on something he does whatever it takes to make it happen. He's risen from chapter and regional levels to state FFA reporter.
Lee Thompson, Luhman's agriculture education instructor and FFA adviser, said the rise has been natural. "Jared has always been full of energy. In school, he has always challenged himself."
Luhman also has earned his Minnesota FFA degree. "The next step is the American degree, which I hope to acquire -- not this summer, but next summer at the National FFA Convention," he said.
Science teacher Matt Halverson noted that Luhman has a passion for agriculture and the outdoors, but also excels academically by participating in various advanced placement classes as well as taking the post-secondary enrollment option and earning credits at Rochester Community Technical College.
Luhman said he hopes to have 30 college credits by the time he attends the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus this fall. Then he can graduate from college one year early.
"I will major in agricultural education with emphasis on leadership and communications," he said.
There are two sides to the agriculture degree: teaching and leadership/communication.
"I chose leadership because on our farm we have beef cattle and crops and different things and with ag/ed degree I can cover animal science, plant science, soil science, agribusiness and economics and all these different things that will come in very handy," he said.
After college, Luhman plans to return to Goodhue to farm with his father.
"We are organic farmers and I hope my internship will be through Organic Valley, which is the cooperative where we sell all of our corn," Luhman said.
"I couldn't be more proud of Jared," his mother said. "He has an amazing future ahead and I absolutely love watching it unfold. I truly believe he will achieve whatever it is he puts his mind to."