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Jacob Heitstuman (15 months) cheering on his daddy, Brian, and his papa, Dale, as they fill the sprayer
in Pomeroy.

Photo by Stephanie Heitstuman.

PROFILES

What's better than one job? Four!

Stacy Timm Rasmussen, Farmer's Daughter Photography

October 2021
By Kevin Gaffney


When you meet Stacey Rasmussen, a few things quickly become clear. She is a true Type-A personality, she likes to keep busy, and she is quite adept at handling many tasks simultaneously. One of her mottoes is “why have one job when you can have four?”

Raised on the family farm west of Harrington, Wash., Rasmussen graduated from Harrington High School in 1999. Not envisioning a career in agriculture, she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern Washington University (EWU) in 2003. Her first employment following college was as the club program manager for the Inland Northwest Council of Camp Fire USA.

“It was enjoyable work, and it fit my career goal of working in the nonprofit field,” said Rasmussen. “It was a good fit for my first employment after college.”

During this time, Rasmussen decided to further her education and began taking night classes at Gonzaga University.

While still with Camp Fire USA, Rasmussen went on a blind date, encouraged by a couple of friends. Sparks flew, and within about a year, she was married to Lance Rasmussen. He was employed by Air Electric in Spokane, and they lived in Fairfield for several years.

The opportunity came for a new position for Rasmussen with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She joined them as the marketing and events manager in the Spokane office in 2007. Farmer’s Daughter Photography was launched that same year.

“It wasn’t something that I had really planned to do,” explained Rasmussen. “I had developed an interest in photography when I went on a tour of France in high school. I had taken some good photos, but it wasn’t until later, when my father-in-law gave me a high-quality digital camera, that I really began to become more deeply involved. I started taking pictures of friends and doing some scenic and landscape photography. My client list began to grow, and I realized it was a business opportunity, not just an artistic one. I decided I wanted a unique name for my business, and one day, Farmer’s Daughter Photography just came to mind.”

The year 2009 was a prodigious one for the Rasmussens. Her father, Don Timm, was losing his full-time hired hand, and there was a critical opening on the family farm. He reached out to Stacey and Lance about the possibility of coming home to the farm.

“We had to give it strong consideration, and after deciding to give it a trial period to see if it would work, we moved to Harrington just in time for harvest,” recalled Rasmussen. “I guess we figured if Lance could make it through harvest and seeding season, it was a good fit.”

Even though Lance had not grown up on a farm, the experiment was successful, and he quickly fit into the operation.

Rasmussen completed her master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga in 2011.

“Ironically, my thesis was on farm communication amid succession. That wasn’t my original plan, but it worked out well,” she said. “I guess we haven’t tested all the facets of my thesis yet, as dad is still in the process of moving toward retirement. But our move back to the farm was absolutely the right decision.”

Shortly after relocating to Harrington, Rasmussen was hired as manager of the Odessa Public Development Authority. Her educational training and skills made her a natural for that position.

“I loved that work,” noted Rasmussen. “I learned a lot about the public sector process, especially grants and public projects. I had the opportunity to work with many folks in the Odessa business and farming community. It was very rewarding.”

Rasmussen held that position from 2012 until 2019, when she had to resign to provide full-time home care for a family member.

With all her irons in the fire, Rasmussen doesn’t have a problem with a lot of extra free time. Along with being president of Westside Farms, she also is the main parts runner. She will drive harvest truck if needed. She also handles the bookkeeping, writes the checks and pays all the bills. She was a little bit coy when asked who the boss was on the farm.

“I just do what I’m told,” Rasmussen said with a sly grin. “Or do I just tell everyone else what to do? I guess it depends on what day it is. I do make a lot of the decisions, but we’re all part of the same team.”

Rasmussen teaches adult education classes for Spokane Community College.

“It’s a part-time position teaching people how to use computers and other digital technology. Most of the students are over 50 years of age. In the time of COVID-19, it has been much more challenging, trying to teach folks how to use a computer in a Zoom meeting format, when they barely know how to turn their computers on. It really is rewarding when students have that light-bulb-coming-on experience when you are working with people who have no technology experience.”

Farmer’s Daughter Photography helps keep her busy, but she has no plans to make it a full-time job. Her website has several categories for different photography assignments. She even has an “Unveiled Beauty” section for more intimate images.

“I take a lot of family portraits, especially in the fall season. I’m happy to book sessions for graduation pictures and other family events. My favorite work is landscapes and scenic photography. I don’t do weddings, but I’m happy to refer couples to several other photographers who are very good at shooting weddings.

“I think everyone should feel beautiful or handsome, and I strive to make both women and men feel self-confidence during their photo shoots. It is a growing part of my business. For scenic photo opportunities, I love finding areas that I have not traveled before. There are still a lot of roads in Lincoln County I haven’t explored. I am always very careful not to trespass on private property. That is very important to me.”

In addition to all of that, Rasmussen serves on the board of the Washington Wheat Foundation and as president of the EWU Alumni Board. She also serves on the Harrington Library Board. Rasmussen has traveled as far away as Texas for photography assignments. She feels fortunate that her husband is not uncomfortable with her traveling alone for her work when necessary.

The Rasmussens have two children, Smoke and Ember, their two labradors.

“I’m a dog mom, and our dogs are a big part of my life,” she said.

Looking forward, her father plans to ease out of the day-to-day operation of the farm and hand over more of the responsibilities to Lance and Stacey.

“We will eventually move from town onto the farm,” said Rasmussen. “Dad is preparing to transition into retirement, but there is no rush. Like everything else, we will do that as a team.”

For more details about Rasmussen’s business, visit her website at farmersdaughterphoto.com.