National FFA Officer Candidate
Deep roots and strong wings: being equipped with these two things can take you anywhere. There’s one Fillmore County native who exemplifies this philosophy. Valerie Luhman (maiden name Earley) has used her roots in Fillmore County to soar to new heights as an agricultural entrepreneur.
Valerien Luhman, daughter of James and Rachel Earley, has always had a strong connection to agriculture. Growing up on a family farm outside of Wykoff, Luhman knows her way around dairy steers, beef, and crops. She has a love for both farming and people. Through agriculture, Luhman found a way to serve both interests.
Locally, she was involved in her community as a dedicated 4-H member who served on the Fillmore County Federation, attended county and state fairs, and grew as a young leader. Starting with her agriculture classroom, Valerie became involved with the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA. She served as a chapter, region, state, and national FFA officer. After serving as Minnesota’s most recent National FFA officer, Luhman continued her education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She graduated with a major in Agricultural Communications and Marketing in 2016.
Luhman is now living with her husband, Jared Luhman, in Goodhue, Minn. They live on the family farm, Dry Creek Red Angus, where Jared raises organic crops and beef cattle with his dad.
Between her background in agriculture and leadership, Valerie has found the key to open many doors that lead to success. Less than two years ago, Valerie and Jared opened a door that would fulfill their desire to contribute to people and agriculture. The Luhmans purchased their new business, Grass Fed Cattle Co. As farmers, the couple teams up with other local farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin to sell grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and pork. To build relationships and share their passion for raising sustainable meat, Grass Fed Cattle Co. connects directly with customers to deliver food.
People want to know where their food comes from. “It’s surprising how much people do care and want to understand,” said Valerie. Luhman has been able to utilize her agricultural communication skills and welcoming personality to create several opportunities to connect producers and consumers directly. Within 10 days of ordering, customers are able to pick up their meat packages at a Twin Cities or Edina location. Pick up appointments are a great time to build relationships. Grass Fed Cattle Co. also connects with customers through their website, newsletters, expos, and social media. Grass Fed Cattle Co.’s primary market is based in the Twin Cities metro area. The Luhman family hopes to expand its market and introduce pasture-raised turkey and chicken, eggs, and lamb to their catalog. Of course, it is always the family’s goal to continuously maintain personal relationships with their customers!
Be open to feedback, start conversations, and don’t be afraid to try something new. These are just a few strategies that Luhman has used to find success. Running a business is a challenge, and Luhman credits several people in Fillmore County for supporting them with Grass Fed Cattle Co. Connecting with other farmers is one of the treasures available. There is always room to learn and grow, and serving people through agriculture is something that Valerie Luhman clearly values.
Fillmore County roots and agricultural success: Valerie Luhman has experienced both. She has taken the value of growing up in a small town and added her passion for agriculture and servant leadership to foster trusting relationships between consumers and producers in the metro area and beyond. To support the Luhman family through Grass Fed Cattle Co., follow their Instagram account @grassfedcattleco or visit their website grassfedcattleco.com to learn more or place your order. Two things can take you so far. The opportunities are endless when you invest in deep roots and strong wings.
In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing what I have learned and continue to learn from my experiences and conversations across the state. Topics will range from local stories to understanding the relevance of policies and current events in agriculture. Literacy is listening. To share any questions, story ideas, or comments on published or potential articles, please feel welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Valerie and Jared Luhman, owners of the Grass Fed Cattle Co.