Posts tagged June 2019
Anna Aja

Auctioneer and Rancher
Stanfield, Ariz.

Anna Aja is a third generation auctioneer and a fourth generation rancher who calls the 48th state home. She inhibits a strong passion for helping non-profits reach their maximum earning potential, which she does with a career built on a lifetime of exposure to the auction industry coupled with a decade of experience in communications and event planning within the cattle industry.

While Aja’s résumé is stacked - University of Arizona agricultural economics alumna, Champion International Livestock Auctioneer, Paul Ramirez, mentorship, Mendenhall School of Auctioneering alumna, and Professional Ringmen’s Institute alumna - it’s how she conducts business that is most impressive. 


“I volunteer with all my clients. I want to know the heart of their organization, their mission, and their goals,” Aja shared. “As a conduit between my clients, their organizations, and generous donors, I’m honored to help those to come together to raise money for important things like saving lives, finding cures, and helping people who need it.”

She and her husband, Bass, who is also a fourth generation rancher, operate under the 9F brand, a gift from Bass’ grandmother that had belonged to her father. It stands for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit as defined in the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23.

With, Anna takes her honest and heartfelt approach to assist each client in reaching and exceeding their goals.

Anna and her husband Bass reside in Stanfield, Ariz. - population 1,900 - with their three rambunctious children who range in age from toddler to first grade.

Why do we love Anna?

She’s equal parts business and I’d like to hike a mountain with this woman. She’s run your event from conception to tear down and let’s get to really know each other over coffee. She’s ensuring clients non-for-profits are funded, and she’s kissing scrapes and dusting bottoms of her three little ranch hands. She’s who you aspire to be, and who you want in your tribe.

Brett Colvin

Pointer and Pine
Whitefish, Montana

When an Airstream serves as your home and office, and you happen to be located on Flathead Lakein Whitefish, Mont., then yes, that pretty much sums it up “living the dream.”

But things aren’t always as they seem. It was a crazy year when Pointer and Pine founder and owner, Brett Colvin, found himself remodeling an Airstream, moving fulltime to Salt Lake City, and rebranding his business. That same year Colvin also found himself on the other side of a stroke, and facing the seizures that followed. Some would call it defeat. Others would call it a defining moment.

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A one man show (well, plus his dog Monte, who happens to be the company mascot), Colvin pressed on, fielding emails, phone calls, orders and shipping, website maintenance - as well as cutting, sewing, and hand painting every flag order. His Instagram feed evolved to showcase his work and Airstream renovation, and his following continued to grow and followed him as he relocated to Whitefish.

These days Pointer and Pine’s custom canvas flags are taking the nation by storm. From small, local brands to household brands like Carhartt, Levi’s, and Pendleton, everyone wants a piece of Pointer and Pine.

And while Colvin may soon be putting the Airstream aside for a home with more permanent roots, perhaps it will always remain a staple of his business. At least, we hope so. 

Walt Dasher

G&R Farms
Glennville, Georgia

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What will Americans do in 15 years when there are not enough farmers to feed our massive country, let alone the growing global population? This is question keeps Walt Dasher, a third generation Georgia farmer at G&R Farms, up at night, and it’s driving him to find solutions.

It started in 2015 when Dasher hiring young adults to work on the farm during the busy Vidalia® onion season.

“Over the years, we found people under the age of 30 in rural areas, like ours, expressed very little interest in farm work. This caused me great concern because we all know that a lack of farmers could create a myriad of problems for our country,” Dasher said. “Can you imagine if we experienced a food supply shortage in the United States and had to depend on foreign countries to feed our families?”

Dasher noted the average age of an American farmer is 58 (source), which continues to trend older each year. Determined to do his part to combat the problem and increase awareness across the country, he created a plan. 

He launched a fundraiser where all proceeds were donated to the Georgia FFA Foundation. While the monetary results were small at first, they were the key to opening a door to a much larger program. 

Soon, National FFA joined the movement and Growing America’s Farmers was established as a non-profit foundation providing college scholarships for future agriculturalists through the National FFA Organization. Since launch, the program has expanded into a multi-tier effort to involve retailers that support educational opportunities for young people aspiring to become America’s future farmers.

My goal is to eventually have support in every state so I can award production ag scholarships to kids with a far-reaching impact, truly showing them American retailers and consumers care greatly about them and where our food comes from,” Walt tells me, speaking of his third year in the program. “By entering into an agreement with the National FFA, it allowed me to offer scholarships nationwide and, therefore, work with retailers across the country. I have been so humbled and blown away by the support we have received, and I am really excited about what we have done—and are doing—for the future of the American farmer.
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A history of innovation

G&R Farms is recognized as Georgia's oldest grower, packer, shipper and marketer of Vidalia Onions. Founded in 1945, as a farm of two acres, the operation has greatly expanded, with the Dasher Family now planting approximately 1,300 acres of the world-famous crop annually. 

This company was the first to sell sweet onions to a major retail chain back in 1970 and also one of the first in the industry to utilize Controlled Atmosphere Storage. Headquartered in Glennville, Georgia, the company also expands to Florida, Peru, and Colombia as well. 

“As a 100 percent family-owned and operated company and one of the oldest active fully-integrated growers, packers, shippers in the industry, we offer a history of quality and premier product that is a testament to our business,” Walt says.

Why do we love Walt and the Dasher family? 

Not only does G&R Farms work to empower tomorrow’s agriculturalists to provide the food supply for our country, they also partner in the community in many ways, supporting numerous events and activities.

Like when Walt’s dad, Robert Dasher, was honored as the 2010 Georgia Farmer of the Year, followed by the elite recognition as the Southeastern Farmer of the Year. He donated his winnings of $17,500 to the Friends of the Glennwanis Hotel for the hotel’s restoration fund. 

The work they’re doing is going to leave a legacy far beyond G&R Farms — they’re investing in the future of America’s farmers and inspiring our future Ruralists in the making. 

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Tess Maune

KOTV Anchor/Reporter
Mannford, Oklahoma

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Known to Oklahomans as Tulsa’s News On 6 award-winning journalist, Tess Maune is a born-and raised El Reno, Okla. native, who on- and off-set represents the stories of everyday people, their interests, hobbies, and smalltown roots. 

Away from the anchor desk, Maune channels her small town beginnings and love for the outdoors by allocating most of her free time to the woods or in the water with her husband, Matt, and their dog, Muffin — and goes noodling almost every day in the summer. 

USE THIS AS A PHOTO CAPTION UNDER THE PHOTO: Her biggest catch to date is a 52-pound flathead.

“I’m proud to showcase outdoor Oklahoma as a woman,” Maune shared (WHERE DID SHE SHARE THIS, THIS NEEDS DEVELOPED.

It’s easy to assume Maune was raised around outdoor adventures, wildlife, and water; however, you would be mistaken. Her life changed course when she was assigned a noodling story for work. 

Noodling, or the art of fishing for catfish using one's bare hands, ultimately led to an even bigger plot twist for Maune. A month after her noodling assignment, Maune found herself on another noodling trip where she met her husband, Matt. 

Matt, the reigning Oklahoma Biologist of the Year, is a wildlife biologist and avid outdoorsman. He continues to introduce her to the vast outdoors world, which is now something they enjoy together.

Editors note: Matt proposed in a tree stand. True story.

It’s no secret I love this great state and can’t get enough of the outdoors here in Oklahoma.

Maune has a big heart for Oklahoma, which she exercises as emcee to fundraise for local and national causes. 

Morgann McCoy

A Well Worn Story
New Glarus, Wisconsin

She describes herself as a designer and seamstress who creates high-quality, handcrafted goods to carry on your story. To be fair, however, she’s creating an incredible story for herself, as well.

It started with a sewing machine, $5,000, and a dream — to transform textiles into heirloom pieces that tell a unique story. 


“I wanted to produce something people want to use all the time and maybe even hand down to the next generation,” McCoy shared. “I focus on durable, timelines products people actually want to wear.”

The result is a product line that includes durable bags, aprons, home goods, and other accessories. Her love of nature has instilled a passion for natural fibers and dyes, and even sourcing textiles directly from farmers. 

In a world where practically everything is mass produced and sold to thousands of people, I appreciate handmade pieces and materials crafted by makers.

Each item is thoughtfully designed and crafted in her small Wisconsin studio, which also happens to be on her twin brother’s farm where he and his wife raise cattle. Her leather source? The herd outside her studio window. 

And as if that wasn’t enough, Morgann shared her craft by bringing an industrial sewing machine to Haiti to help with the start of Sa Voix, a social enterprise to employ young women who are leaving Hands and Feet Orphanage. She continues to serve as a designer and teacher with the organization which allows her to pass on a passion to artisans who are now flourishing as true craftswomen.

We’re always trying to find new, better ways to support farmers and support local.

Hannah Miller

Goin’ Coastal Outfitters + Rockport Cultural Arts District
Rockport, Texas

Hannah Miller, a Texas coastal native and, a practicing digital strategist, worked for two high-profile digital and traditional advertising agencies after earning her Aggie ring during her Masters program. Those positions, however, ensured she spent the majority of her days on the road as they were based in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, which a client base stretched across the continental United States. 

A constant since first leaving her hometown of Rockport, Texas, when she headed north for undergrad in Stephenville, Texas, has been the dream of returning and not only riding for someone else’s brand, but her own. That dream, however, seemed impossible. Digital strategy positions with clientele in the food and agricultural industries were not plentiful on the Texas coast. With that knowledge, Miller pursued her Masters in College Station and chased it with a move to Austin to work for a Wisconsin-based agency at their remote office. 

The tides turned when Miller negotiated her already-remote position continue to be remote, however, based in Rockport. The agency agreed. Her travel, though, did not slow down. While she lived at home, she was never there. Miller was headhunted for a new position, remote at that, that promised less travel, more responsibilities, and clients that better fit her agricultural experience. The culture, the work, the everything - except the commute - was perfect. 

Then, on August 17, 2017, Hurricane Harvey happened.

Miller, who was living with her parents as she settled back into her hometown, lost everything as the eye of Hurricane Harvey hit land directly over Rockport.

Maybe it was the chaos. Maybe it was the feeling of vulnerability? Or maybe it was Miller’s calling to continue to dig roots into her hometown.

In the midst of hurricane recovery, Hannah - and her family - launched Goin’ Coastal Outfitters’ first T-shirt, Rockport Strong. Goin’ Coastal, a family-owned, women lead small business is now, a mere two years later, a thriving business with a brick and mortar space and with a 2 year plan to employee more than one FT employee. The first of which, happens to be a co-owner and sister, Abigail. 


It was as if the hurricane strengthened Hannah’s call to return to Rockport in a more permanent - less travel the country - way.

Like a siren, Rockport kept calling until this February Hannah answered.

Today, Hannah is the Executive Director of the Rockport Cultural Arts District, which was created to strengthen and preserve Rockport’s unique reputation as a significant artistic community and be a resource for residents and visitors.

So she’s doing the thing. She’s an advocate for a small business, her travel is now dedicated to personal travel, and she’s a co-owner of a budding small town business.