This week, CFAC staff, Board, and friends said goodbye to Annie Heuscher, our Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program Director. Annie came to CFAC in 2012. In 2013, she developed the Beginning Farmer and Rancher program and built a state-wide network of resources, farmers, workshops, and an online platform to connect them all.
If you know Annie, you know she’s a force to be reckoned with – resilient, innovative, and hilarious. We will miss her and wish her all our best as she discovers her next adventures.
Here’s a look back on some of Annie’s CFAC highlights:
Q: Why did you think it was important to work for an organization like CFAC? What motivated you?
A: I love Montana; I was born and raised here. I started out working in planning and economic development, and I really loved the connection between all of those things that CFAC represents, and I think they’re all really important – the way we use land and sustain our ag economy in Montana.
Q: What do you like best about working in this world?
A: I loved all the people I worked with. There’s amazing people farming in Montana and it’s an honor in being able to support them in doing what they do really well.
Q: Tell us about a time when you did something you never thought you’d do while you were at work.
A: Hmmm. I never thought I’d watch an ultimate Frisbee tournament and get bit by a parrot all in one day at work.
Q: What was your earliest success?
A: Getting the first Beginning Farmer and Rancher-related grant. It was a risk-management grant for $50,000 in 2013.
Q: What is your hope for CFAC in the future?
A: To keep innovating and making a difference across the food system.
Some of the CFAC staff cheers to Annie (left) on her last day.
Q: Your office jams are the best. What’s your favorite song to play at work right now?
A: “Good as Hell” by Lizzo.
Q: What was one really impactful moment for you during your time at CFAC that made you think, “I made a difference.”
A: Doing our evaluations from the specialty crop mini-grants and seeing how much that small influx of funding made people feel so much more confident in being able to grow their businesses.
Q: If you could pass on a few words of advice to folks working in the world of sustainable agriculture, what would it be?
A: Be open to all of the different places where ingenuity can come from.
Q: If you could give nicknames to everyone on staff, what would they be?
A: I’m going to give out nicknames, but I’m not going to say who’s who: Sugarlips, The Handler, The Fixer, The Performer (no pressure), Fountain of Youth.
Q: What’s Montana’s biggest strength when it comes to sustainable agriculture?
A: Decades of hard work, ingenuity and perseverance.
Q: If CFAC had a mascot, what would it be?
A: A big, juicy tomato. Because they’re delicious.
Q: If you were a big, juicy tomato, what would you do all day?
A: Chill in the shade.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Thanks for the wild ride.