Ryan Heiniger joined CTIC as the Executive Director in November 2022 and brings nearly 25 years of experience working in the non-profit conservation sector along with a ‘tractor seat’ perspective as a 4th generation Iowa farmer. As Executive Director, Ryan oversees and leads the team as they carry out project deliverables
He also builds and maintains partnerships to continue CTIC's legacy as a conservation leader. Ryan also serves on the board of directors for Field To Market, the alliance for sustainable agriculture
Prior to joining CTIC, Ryan served as director of America’s Conservation Ag Movement (ACAM) with Farm Journal’s sustainability division where he lead all aspects of its state and local projects with a focus on farmer-to-farmer peer networks to accelerate conservation practice knowledge transfer. Ryan also served as the director of agriculture and director of field operations – north region for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. In these roles, Ryan created and led the organization’s Precision Ag and Conservation Solutions Program which focused on private-sector ag tech partnerships to improve farmer profitability, sustainability and creation wildlife habitat and led a team of 85 staff delivering PF’s mission in a 5 state region. Prior to joining PF in 2013 and returning to his roots on the family farm, Ryan worked for Ducks Unlimited for 15 years in several field and leadership capacities.
Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Iowa State University. Ryan and his wife Nikki are raising their son and daughter as 5th generation family farmers along the banks of the Mississippi River in southeast Iowa.
Crystal is responsible for the overall administration. Crystal also handles memberships, sponsorships, and tour registrations. Crystal assists the executive director with all other day to day operations. Crystal joined CTIC in the fall of 2014.
Sue joined CTIC in 2013. She works with multiple projects and partners and also assists CTIC staff with events, communications and administration. Sue spent most of her career in plant breeding research as a soybean technician and plant pathology lab manager. She has also worked with two Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Indiana, as a district technician and urban conservationist.
Communication & Events Director
Callie joined the CTIC team in 2019. She is the communications and events director- developing effective messaging and communication strategies to promote CTIC's brand. Callie is a 2016 graduate of Purdue University where she graduated with a degree in animal sciences and agribusiness. She has also worked in the livestock industry and enjoys going to pig shows in her free time with her family.
Soil Health Specialist
Julia joined CTIC in July of 2023 to lead the organization’s Farmers for Soil Health program in South Dakota. Fueled by interests in gardening and mycology, the longtime writer and editor developed a passion for conservation agriculture when she worked for Lessiter Media, where she was Executive Editor of No-Till Farmer magazine, Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Working with farmers who have implemented soil health practices has helped her see that soil is essential for life itself. To quote soil scientist, Charles E. Kellogg, “There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”
Soil Health Specialist
Catie joined CTIC in July of 2023 to lead the organization’s Farmers for Soil Health program in Wisconsin. Catie is the former My Wisconsin Woods Coordinator at the Aldo Leopold Foundation, where she collaborated closely with Wisconsin landowners to foster sustainable land management practices on forested properties. Hailing from Northern California, Catie's upbringing on a multi-generational ranch instilled a profound connection to the land. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in soil science from Montana State University. Catie relocated to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 2021, swiftly embracing the state's natural beauty and rich agricultural heritage, and developing a deep affection for its diverse landscapes and vibrant communities.
Dave Gustafson, Ph.D.
Dr. Dave Gustafson is an independent scientist, serving as a project director when needed and in various other roles on multiple CTIC projects, drawing upon his experience in predictive modeling and data analysis. He is a past CTIC Board Chair and had agribusiness experience with Monsanto, Rhone-Poulenc and Shell, as well as his current work at the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute and WSU. Educated as a chemical engineer, Dave holds a BS from Stanford and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Steve Werblow has worked with CTIC since the early ‘90s, helping promote conservation practices across the country. A graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Steve is a four-time American Agricultural Editors Association Writer of the Year, award-winning photographer, and self-described "soil hugger.” He is based in Ashland, Oregon, and has covered agricultural stories on six continents for a wide range of farm magazines.