Local FFA members earn region honors
WORTHINGTON -- One works alongside his brother in a co-owned landscaping operation. The other works in her family's business, hauling manure and applying it to crop ground throughout the area.
The work performed and the money raised in those business ventures led Jason LeBrun and Jenna Luinenburg to be named Region VI FFA Proficiency winners during the region's Spring Rally Friday in Tracy.
Both Worthington High School seniors will now see their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) records advance to state competition at the Minnesota FFA Convention in late April.
LeBrun earned his regional proficiency in landscape management after working alongside his older brother, John, in LeBrun Landscaping each of the past three years. Luinenburg's proficiency is in environmental science and natural resource management. She has worked in the family-owned business, Luinenburg Waste Management Systems, Inc., for several years.
Both LeBrun and Luinenburg plan to use the money they've earned from their SAE to help pay for their college education.
LeBrun -- now a part-owner of LeBrun Landscaping -- said the Wilmont-based business is steadily growing, both in clientele and services provided. His older brother, who will graduate this spring from Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, S.D., founded the company in 2003 after taking a landscaping class offered through the WHS agriculture program.
LeBrun plans to attend Southeast Technical College this fall to study landscape and turf management. He said he enjoys working in the landscaping business, adding that it's a career that offers new challenges every day. The business can design and install retaining walls, patios, steps and driveways.
Waterfalls and pondless waterfalls are two of the latest projects the brothers offer through their business, and LeBrun said they hope to eventually add hydro-seeding and sprinkler system installation. The pair performs work for customers in the tri-state area.
Luinenburg has grown up learning about the family-owned business of waste management. Her father, J.R., founded the rural Reading-based company in 1998, when she was in the fifth grade.
While her dad still works in the business, Luinenburg's older brothers, John and Justin, are instrumental to the operation. John earned the state proficiency in environmental science and natural resource management while he was in the FFA.
"Now the kids are starting to take over," Luinenburg said of the work she and her brothers do. The business employs three people during the spring and fall, which are their busy times of the year.
Luinenburg Waste Management Systems Inc. hauls human, pig and dairy waste to cropland throughout the region. The business also performs soil sampling and manure management to assist farmers in determining the amount of nutrients needed to maximize crop production.
"(The waste) is used as a fertilizer, so farmers don't have to spend so much on buying fertilizer," Luinenburg said.
The business has grown to include five 7,300-gallon slurry/manure tanks, which are used to apply waste to farm fields.
In the past three years, Luinenburg has logged more than 1,000 hours in the business, while LeBrun said he put 600 hours last year alone into the landscaping operation.
Luinenburg plans to attend Ridgewater College in Willmar this fall in hopes of becoming a large animal veterinary assistant.
Other regional proficiency winners from this area include: Nick Henning, Fulda, first place in agricultural mechanics design and fabrication; Sara Smith, Fulda, second place in beef production entrepreneurship; Christine Von Holtum, Luverne, first place in small animal production and care placement; and Christopher Fast, Mountain Lake, Star in Agri-Placement.