John Getto and Dave Eckert began growing teff as an experiment a decade ago but several years ago, they built a seed cleaning operation and began growing more types of gluten-free grains.
More than one year ago, two federal agencies toured Northern Nevada’s rural communities including Churchill County to promote business enterprise, talk with community leaders about challenges. Joseph Amato, district director for the Nevada Small Business Administration, and Phil Cowee, USDA’s Rural Development state director, spent several hours at Desert Oasis Teff & Grain learning about the operation. They also discovered a new cleaning and storage facility west of Fallon sends grain in bulk to processing plants, while providing smaller quantities for the local operation.
Move forward one year, and the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded Oasis Teff and Grain its Rural Business of the Year, but because of restrictions placed on gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Churchill County firm has to wait several months before receiving their award. The presentation took place at The Grid.
“We decided at the Nevada District Office to deliver the awards,” Amato said. “It’s a great honor to be here.”
Amato said he received an SBA award in 1997. When he conducts the presentation, he feels he gives “a piece of himself” because of what he knows behind the award’s history.