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 about membership, contact Tim Parrish, Domestic Marketing Manager. Please note, in order to maintain the integrity of the data on the site, prospective applicants should fully complete all sections since each application is vetted and researched before being uploaded. An application with all the pertinent information provided, will speed the process.

Member Opportunities

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

Grower/Buyer Exchange

One day after our Flavors of Carolina Show, The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services will hold a Grower/Buyer Exchange.

Tuesday March 8, 2022
Embassy Suites by Hilton Concord
Meeting Rooms 202 and 203
5400 John Q. Hammons Drive NW, Concord, NC

Meet one-on-one with Buyers/
Category Managers from Food Lion. 

Exchange sessions open to current and new suppliers for the Fresh Produce & Packaged Nut Categories ONLY.

The day will be structured in 15-minute, one-on-one sessions. 15 Morning Sessions from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm AND 11 Afternoon Sessions from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

A limit of one 15-minute session per company.

Registration via Eventbrite closes on February 23rd!
Link coming soon!

To participate in the Grower Buyer Exchange, you must meet the following:
Your product must be within the category of interest. These exchanges are designed for the operations of North Carolina agriculture farms/ packing and processing operations producing a market ready food product. Businesses with ownership, leases, or contractual obligations for fields, growing operations, processing/ packaging facilities, in the state of North Carolina that produce a market ready food product are eligible. Businesses who serve solely as a representative or broker of a food product are not eligible. Potential suppliers should be prepared with overviews of company operations, product(s), distribution, sales, price points, reclamation process, product differentiation, benefits to the category by adding the product/product line, etc.

Register now for Extension's Farm Tax Webinars!

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Chatham County Center is conducting a Farm Tax Webinar Series as part of its Enhancing Sustainability Series starting on February 15 and ending in early March. All webinars will be from 6–8 p.m EST.

Target audience: farmers (vegetables & fruits, cut flowers, livestock, hemp, row crops, etc.), nursery growers, beekeepers, aquaculture producers.

The webinars will be taught by Guido van der Hoeven, Agricultural Tax Specialist with the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University. Guido retired as an Extension Specialist/Senior Lecturer at NC State University, and we have been collaborating on farm tax workshops in Chatham County for over 10 years. These workshops always prove to be very popular; in fact, 95% of participants from our last farm tax workshop rated it as outstanding or excellent. Guido serves as President of the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, Inc.

Here is a list of the 2022 Farm Tax Webinars: 

  • February 15, 2022: Farm Tax and Business Info 101
  • February 22 and February 24, 2022: Schedule F Income & Expenses
  • March 8, 2022: Sales and Property Tax Issues for Farmers

You must register for each webinar separately (the two Schedule F webinars are taken together so you only register once for those).

Visit the Growing Small Farms website for detailed agendas and links to register.

Sales Opportunity - MDI Marketplace (powered by Specialty Food Partners)

Specialty Food Partners is a technology company that operates a private online marketplace for MDI (the MDI Marketplace), enabling MDI to offer an unlimited number of specialty, natural and organic products available for direct purchase by their retail accounts. Because MDI does not have to hold inventory in these items, they are incentivized to offer them for sale to their customers.

Specialty Food Partners does not charge vendors for listing or selling items on their platform, and there is no cost to for suppliers to join or to include your broker in the program.

The MDI Marketplace program is set up for vendors who are not in the MDI system.  The MDI Marketplace is a dropship program where MDI customers can find and order new items.  Vendors are notified of the orders and receive pre-paid shipping labels so they can ship their orders direct to the retailers (MDI customers).

If you have any questions about this program, you can reach Specialty Food Partners by email or phone (Matt: 203-517-0041 x 204, Hannah: 203-517-0041 x 203).

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Are you a farmer interested in being paid to protect water quality? The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) works with farmers to convert low-yield cropland and marginal pastureland into riparian forests that protect water quality, create wildlife habitat, and provide an additional source of income for farmers.

Participating farmers enroll eligible fields into conservation easements- written agreements between the landowner and the state of North Carolina.  The landowner agrees to carry out conservation practices and to restrict future cropping and development on the land but retains private ownership. In return, the farmer receives per-acre payments, a one-time bonus and cost shares to reimburse the farmer for the cost of establishing conservation practices.

CREP is accepting enrollments in the eastern ¾ of the state. To be eligible, the land must have been owned for 1 year, have been farmed for at least four years between 2012 and 2018, and be adjacent to a qualifying water body. See if your land is eligible and contact CREP staff using our interactive map.




NC Agventures opened  grant applications for 46 counties in central North Carolina. WNC AgOptions is accepting now grant applications for western NC. Similar grants from the University of Mount Olive (AgPrime) are available and cover eastern and parts of central NC.

Applications for Fund-a-Farmer Grants are now available. Grants of up to $3,000 to working, independent farmers located in the U.S. who raise beef cattle, bison, broiler chickens, dairy cows, ducks, geese, goats, laying hens, pigs, sheep and/or turkeys. Deadline to apply is January 20, 2022.

Smithfield Foods Minority Farmer Initiative

Smithfield Foods has established a new contract grower program to support Black and minority farmers and diversify to their hog supply chain. This innovative initiative will help  build a stronger agricultural future that encompasses a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds in their work to feed the world.

Retail Product Opportunity

The Village Market, just outside Greenville NC, is interested in sourcing local products for their new storefront.  They plan to sell NC meat, eggs, milk, pre-made meals along with local honey, jams/jellies, and other locally made food products.  They are also interested in soaps, candles and other NC artisan made items.  Members who may be interested can contact Justin Lawrence at (252) 702- 5650 or

Phillips Farms Farmers Market Accepting Vendor Apps

We have our very own Farmers Market every weekend! We are excited for this new addition to the farm. It’s another great way we are connecting to the community and helping people get local, amazing, and healthy food!

We are currently booking farms and vendors for our new market and are specifically looking for farms that sell local produce, artisan vendors, and handcrafted goods. Please reach out to if you are interested in becoming a vendor.

Food Product Sales Opportunity

Southern Vine Productions, an event management and promotions company, is starting a NC Wine and Food subscription service in addition to their NC Wine and Chocolate shows where they will feature only North Carolina items in their monthly subscription. They are going through the ABC permitting process right now and plan to rollout their first Wine and Chocolate Box for Valentine’s Day weekend.

In addition to food, they are going to include local NC Wines in the boxes showcasing the best tastes that North Carolina has to offer. They are interested in purchasing items such as wine, chocolates, snacks, meats, cheeses, etc. wholesale for the subscription service from Got To Be NC and NC Specialty Foods Association members.

If interested in participating or for more information, contact: Amanda Knepp 704-323-9629

NC STEP program is accepting applications

NC STEP program is accepting applications from qualifying small businesses for reimbursement funds associated with exporting. The program, a partnership between the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), provides funding for booth space at international trade shows, travel, e-commerce, translation services and more. For details, contact Jen Vogelsberg at or 919-447-7778

Downtown Pop-Up Grant Program

Downtown Raleigh Alliance has created a Pop-Up Grant program to help revitalize vacant storefronts and bring more businesses downtown. The grant is aimed at businesses interested in short-term leases (3 months – 1 year). Visit the Downtown Raleigh Alliance website for more information and to apply.

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 or contact Will at (252) 567-8305 or email

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

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 for more information.

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