Got To Be NC members represent the farmers and agribusinesses that produce our state’s agricultural products. Membership in the program not only allows us to bring our members’ goods to market and into the hands of consumers, it benefits North Carolina’s agriculture industry as a whole.

Through members-only events, trade shows, marketing initiatives and more, we support members of all sizes, from wholesale producers and processors to individual specialty food entrepreneurs.  The Got To Be NC program is a business development program.  It is designed to assist companies that are in business to grow and expand market share.  The program is not for the hobbyist.

Apply for Membership

Got To Be NC membership is made by application to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and may only be claimed by qualified and approved producers or processors of North Carolina agricultural and food products.

Apply online for membership today!  You can view our membership criteria by downloading it here. Prospective members looking to download a paper application form can do so here.  Please note, paper applications take longer to process.

Current members should verify and update their member profile today – it’s as easy as following steps 1, 2, 3! Search the name of your business to confirm whether or not your company has been imported to our Find Local directory. If you are listed, simply follow step 2 to the form to update your existing profile.

For current members not listed: You are still a member! Because of the age and volume of the old member database, we launched the new site with a sampling of the total membership data that had been researched and vetted. The fastest and most efficient way for us to capture updated information on our members for the new Find Local directory is to have you fill out the new online application. This application feeds our new member profile center. The application is more in depth, but takes just 10 minutes to fill out. This will provide NCDA staff with the robust details and information needed to serve you better.

For information on the new gottobenc.com website and membership, contact Jamie Hall, Got To Be NC marketing manager. Please note, in order to maintain the integrity of the data on the site, each application is vetted and researched before being uploaded. We are experiencing a high volume of applications and update forms, please be patient, as we work diligently to process each one.

Member Opportunities

Explore grant initiatives and opportunities available from Got To Be NC and our partners.

Web Conference Series: Creating Opportunities to Supply Our Military with NC Food/Beverage for Subsistence, Performance and Nutrition

THREE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT WEB CONFERENCES made available through a partnership with The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC), the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) Marketing Division and the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition (DEFTECH) Office.

These agencies will co-host a no-charge, three-part WEBCON mini-series, using Zoom for government platform to promote increased North Carolina food & beverage sales and consumption through successful federal contract engagement and execution to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

  • SESSION 1: Department of Defense Retail Food Opportunities

When. July 22, 2020, 1100-1230 EST

  • SESSION 2: Department of Defense Troop Feeding Opportunities (Dining Halls)

When.  July 29, 2020, 1100-1230 EST

  • SESSION 3: Nutritional Research and Development and Human (Warfighter) Performance

When. August 5, 2020, 1100-1230 EST

This series is designed to provide North Carolina growers and producers of raw agricultural farm products, as well as manufacturers of value-added food & beverage products, and R&D entities engaged in food production and distribution a better understanding of the process to supply our military bases and other federal operations with food & beverage for subsistence, performance and nutrition.

Click here for expanded content and details on conference registration.

Connecting Produce Growers With Buyers

An online survey is helping farmers and major retail buyers impacted by COVID-19 to connect while their normal distribution and sales channels are disrupted.

The survey allows farmers to submit their contact information and upcoming product availability. The information will be compiled by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Marketing Division and shared with retail partners on a weekly basis.

NCDA&CS marketing specialists are also available for consultation in finding suitable markets. Click here to participate in the survey.

NC Specialty Foods Offers Online Event Series This Summer

This summer, the N.C. Specialty Foods Association will offer a series of online events designed to help members learn and grow in this time of change. Each event will be a live, interactive format using the Amazon Chime video platform. Sessions are scheduled on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. The virtual lobby will open for networking at 11:30 a.m. and stay open until 1:30 p.m. Following are a list of scheduled programs with more being planned:

July 15 – Diversity and Inclusion for Small Businesses
July 29 – Handling Decision Anxiety in Today’s Changing World
Aug. 12 – Facebook Advertising 101

Register here!

Growers Wanted

The Produce Box has supplier needs for the 2020 growing season and would like to hear from farms throughout the state who are willing to grow, pack and deliver locally grown products to their Raleigh packing facility. The Produce Box has over 9000 members who opt in for home delivered produce boxes. Interested growers should contact Courtney at courtney@theproducebox.com

Food Product Distribution Opportunity

Ripe Revival Market NEEDS SUPPLIERS for their growing membership program providing seasonal produce and grocery box deliveries to 3 regions in central and eastern NC.  The grocery box option provides additional products made right here in North Carolina in addition to seasonal produce.  Each is hand selected based on availability and seasonality.  Product variety will change each week, as they strive to work directly with local and regional farmers and food production companies to provide a broad mix of products to keep families nourished with each weekly delivery. For more information visit riperevivalmarket.com or contact Will at (252) 567-8305 or email info@riperevivalmarket.com.

Retail Product Opportunity

Got To Be NC and NCSFA member, Lisa Meeting (owner of Cafe Frutta Fresca Gelato) is adding a retail section to her business and plans to add a farmers market to her property at some point.  She is looking for NC-made, all-natural products and produce for their retail store. Particular items of interest are NC natural: honey, soaps, lotions, candles, all-natural candies (gummy bears, hard candy sticks etc.) and naturally grown/organic produce. She is also interested in NC craft merchandise items for her shop. Anyone interested in wholesaling to Lisa can contact her at (910) 741-4300 or email her at cafefruttafresca@gmail.com.

Farmers And Ranchers Financial Assistance - Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Farmers and ranchers in North Carolina can now apply for financial assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.  One source of funding is $9.5 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability act to compensate for specialty crop and dairy losses because of price declines from mid-January to mid-April.  A second source of funding uses the Commodity Credit Corp. Charter Act to compensate producers for $6.5 billion in losses because of ongoing market disruptions.  Find applications and additional information at farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364. Farmers will apply through local Farm Service Agency offices. Most FSA offices are operating by appointment only.  Documentation may be requested. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 28.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Grant Program

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) has established a new grant program—Appalachian Grown Farmer Immediate Needs Grants—for farmers experiencing lost income and added expenses due to COVID-19. Farmers may apply for up to $500 to make strategic investments in meeting new market requirements, such as new technology, packaging materials, communications or other modest investments that will allow the farm to quickly respond to the changing market environment. Priority will be given to farmers who 1) face a significant loss or disruption of market outlets due to COVID-19; 2) depend on the farm business for more than 50 percent of their household income; and 3) plan to use funds to help shift their farm business to new models or adjust to new market requirements.

EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems Grants

Direct grants, cost-share and low-interest loans are available to food and farming businesses in seven Southwestern North Carolina counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems. Funds may be used for equipment, infrastructure and supplies to increase production and income. The program also offers free business counseling services, an apprenticeship program and support for value-added food production. Contact Laura Lauffer at lwlauffe@ncsu.edu for more information.

Business Headshot Sessions

Book Now! Got To Be NC is sponsoring mini headshot sessions for Got To Be NC and NC Specialty Foods Association members. This is a great way for you to get a new headshot for your business marketing materials or social media profiles. Sessions will be 20 minutes and members will receive two images – one with your product(s) and one without. Up to 48 members can take advantage of this FREE opportunity. The sessions will be held on July 22 & 23, at the NCDA&CS building in downtown Raleigh. For more information and to schedule your session, contact Sherry Barefoot at sherry.barefoot@ncagr.gov or (919) 707-3154 to schedule your session.

Southern Women’s Show - Charlotte

Got To Be NC will be sponsoring space in the Got To Be NC Pavilion at the Southern Women’s Show in Charlotte on October 2-4. A 50-percent cost share will be available for 10 booth spaces in the Pavilion. Got To Be NC and/or NC Specialty Foods Association members will receive a reduced rate of $500 for an inline space or $600 for a corner space. Spaces are limited to food products only. Members must note on their application that they are a Got To Be NC and/or and NC Specialty Foods Association member. For more information and to apply click here

Retail Product Opportunity

Hawk’s Nest Café & General Store (Kinston) is looking for shelf stable food products for its general store.  Sauces, pickled vegetables, dry goods (corn bread mix, breading, etc.) and condiments are of particular interest. Contact Judy Johnson at judy@hawksauce.com.

Got To Be NC Alley @ Mumfest

Got To Be NC and NC Specialty Foods Association members will have the opportunity to sample and sell their products at MumFest 2020 in New Bern on October 10-11. Got To Be NC is sponsoring a designated space for members to showcase their products as a group.  Up to 70 spaces are available.  As a result of the Got To Be NC sponsorship, members will receive a reduced rate of $100 for a 10’ x 10’ space, which will include electricity if desired.  Companies may purchase more than one space at $75 per additional space.  For more information and to request an application, contact Margaret at margaret@madeinncstore.com.  Applications will be accepted from March 15, 2020 through September 25, 2020.

Rapid Recovery Loans

Golden Leaf and the NC Rural Center have just introduced a new loan program called NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans.

The EDPNC and their small business helpdesk named “BLNC” will be taking calls and answering questions starting Wed. 3/25. BLNC can be reached at: Toll Free: (800) 228-8443. 

The new product is a rapid recovery loan that is designed to provide businesses with the capital they need before federal loans and insurance payouts are approved. The SBA process is an 8-21 day process. The process for this program is expected to be completed in 4 days (if all the info is provided). There is a very easy online application process that starts here.

A group of five different lending partners have come together on this including: Thread Capital, Befcor, CSBDF, Mountain Biz Works and NCIFund.

These are 0% interest loans for the first 6 months, so they will be a bridge loan option.