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 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.

2020 Seafood Expo North America

The 2020 Seafood Expo North America will be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on March 15-17th, 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts. More information on general show details can be found at:

Got To Be NC will host the North Carolina Seafood Pavilion at the show in March.  The total cost for Got To Be NC member exhibitors to have a 10’ x10’ space at this year’s show will be $2,000.00.  To secure space within the North Carolina pavilion, a deposit of $1,000.00 is due on or before Sept 30, 2019.  The remaining balance of $1,000.00 will be due by January 6, 2020.

If you wish to reserve space for the 2020 Seafood Expo North America, please contact John Aydlett for a printable contract. The exhibit spaces are very limited and are offered on a first come, first serve basis. If there are more exhibitor applications than spaces, you will be notified of the status, and put on a wait list. The NCDA&CS has secured eight 100 square foot exhibit spaces for 2020.

If you have any questions, please call John Aydlett, 252-331-4773, or email

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

Got To Be NC International

European beer, wine and spirit importers will be meeting with North Carolina producers on Nov. 7 and 8. There is a $25 participation fee. The registration deadline is Sept. 20. Contact John Hammond at for more information.

WNC Agricultural Options Accepting Grant Applications

WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $219,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2020. The application deadline is Nov. 15.

WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures and expanding their farms with $3,000 and $6,000 grants.

Applicants should contact their Cooperative Extension agents by Oct. 14 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Applications are available at or at local Cooperative Extension centers.

WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Applicants are encouraged to attend information sessions, which will be held throughout the region in September including: September 24 at the Big Ivy Community Center in Barnardsville from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on September 26 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Check the WNC AgOptions website for dates and locations of other upcoming sessions, or call WNC Communities at (828) 252-4783.

2019 Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grants from RAFI-USA

RAFI-USA’s Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program assists entrepreneurial and innovative farmers and collaborative groups in developing new sources of agricultural income. This grant program has funded more than 600 farming projects and distributed more than $6 million in funds to agricultural communities.

In partnership with the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund awards grants of up to $9,000 to individual farmers and up to $11,000 for collaborative farmer projects located in North Carolina. They award at least 25 grants per year.

The 2019 grant application period is now closed. RAFI-USA typically opens the new application period in late fall.  Although subject to change, RAFI-USA grants are usually only available in the North Carolina counties listed below.  If you’re considering applying for a grant, please click here to complete our grant inquiry form, find out about upcoming Outreach Sessions, and submit an application.

Learn More

NC AgVentures Grant Program

Watch for grant announcement in early November for NC farm operators with innovative plans to diversify, expand, or implement new entrepreneurial plans in the operations in several counties.  To request an application form, email the program coordinator, Jackie Miller with “NC AgVentures Application” in the subject line, your name, farm address, county, and name of your NC Extension agent.