Southern Oregon businesses get $1.3 million in USDA grants

Six Rogue Valley agricultural businesses have been awarded a combined $1.3 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants designed to help their businesses grow.

Two Jackson County businesses and four Josephine County businesses were among 28 companies across the state awarded $32 million in grants and loans through the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service program, according to a joint press release issued Tuesday by U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

The USDA programs are designed to “provide the capital, training, education and entrepreneurial skills” intended to help agricultural workers start and grow businesses, according to the release.

The largest Jackson County recipient was RiverCrest Ranch of Jacksonville, which was awarded $250,000 to launch an estate-bottled wine business and cover the costs of developing a brand and implementing a marketing strategy.

The USDA Value Added Producer Grant will allow the wine business to “create new jobs and economic opportunities through collaboration with other Jackson County vineyards,” according to a press release issued by the USDA.

Wolf Gulch Farm of Jacksonville was awarded $50,000 for third-party research on the “economic, market, management, technical and financial feasibility” related to adding products beyond the certified organic peppers it already grows.

In Josephine County, TerraSol Organics of Williams, Diggin’ Living Farm and Apiaries of Cave Junction, White Estate Winery of Grants Pass and Oshala Farm of Grants Pass were each awarded $250,000.

TerraSol Organics will use its Value Added Producer grant to help the small microgreen farm hire two new sales staff and design a website, professional packaging and print promotional materials.

Diggin’ Livin Farm and Apiaries, a small beekeeping farm, will use the USDA grant to expand its line of honey-infused beverages “through targeted marketing, professional branding and larger distribution,” the release stated.

White Estate Winery will use its grant to “increase sales through the expansion of the company’s market and product line.”

Oshala Farm, a small organic farm, will use the grant to grow its line of organic herbal teas “through marketing materials and a wholesale portal to streamline the ordering process.”