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Seven farms expand business with $125K in state grants

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The S.C. Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship has awarded $125,000 in grant money to agricultural entrepreneurs from across the state.

“The future of South Carolina agriculture depends on innovation — we must grow and develop to survive,” Hugh Weathers, the S.C. agriculture commissioner, said in a news release. “I hope these seven entrepreneurs inspire continued development and innovation across South Carolina agribusiness.”

The seven nominees selected by a panel of judges participated in the center’s advanced entrepreneurship program track, according to the release. The center, founded in 2018, also offers a fall course to mentor fledgling business owners in the state’s agricultural industry.

Recipients of the grants include:

  • Project Victory Gardens owners Kara and Matthew Rutter will expand their Aiken County agritherapy and military veteran agricultural education program facilities, including a teaching kitchen.
  • Aiken’s Woodland Valley Mushrooms owners, Ben Crawford and Rebecca Goldberg, plan to grow their gourmet mushroom operation with the grant.
  • The brother and sister co-owners of Twin Creeks Lavender in Anderson County will make use of the funding to build a drying and production barn at their Williamston lavender farm.
  • York County’s Nance Farm Creamery, operated by a 12th generation farm family, was awarded funding to extend dairy products to a local market.
  • Alicia Holbrook expects to expand remote educational offerings at her Newberry County alpaca farm Carolina Pride Pastures.
  • Orangeburg County’s Lowcountry Creamery, a value-added dairy operation located in Bowman, was awarded funding to provide milk and yogurt direct to consumers.
  • Kristen Beigay, owner of Pickens County worm farm Earthen Organics, will purchase new equipment to grow her family’s organic worm castings business.

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