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.

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.

FREE Photo Sessions For Food Products And Business Profile(head) Shots For Got To Be NC And NC Specialty Foods Association Members

The sessions will be held in Asheville at the Asheville Farmers Market conference room, 570 Brevard Rd, Asheville NC on October 12 and 13.  Each participant will receive up to eight edited product images to be used for marketing.  In addition, members will have the opportunity to receive a one-time head shot/portrait photo shoot.  Members will receive two edited head shot images to use for promotional materials.  These ARE NOT styled images.  Products are photographed on a white background individually and a group shot.  You may bring awards to include in the shots.  Contact Sherry Barefoot at sherry.barefoot@ncagr.gov for more information.

You do not need to be present for the product photography sessions, but you must contact Sherry no later than September 30 to make arrangements for her to receive your products in advance of the photo shoot.  Click to register

Online Presentation: The Cattleman’s Role in Keeping Meat on Consumers’ Plates

Consumer purchasing patterns for beef continuously evolve and have done so at a more rapid pace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Danette Amstein will share insights Midan Marketing has gathered prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic that show how cattlemen can make sure beef stays at the center of consumers’ plate.

Thursday, October 1

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Register for this free online presentation at

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nc-meat-marketing-webinar-tickets-117967216119

For more information, contact: jack.nales@ncagr.gov

Let's Talk Business: Reignite North Carolina Series

The SBA North Carolina District Office (NCDO) is dedicated to sparking change and igniting action so small businesses can confidently start, grow, and expand. In support of this initiative, the NCDO is hosting: LET’S TALK BUSINESS:
REIGNITE NORTH CAROLINA SERIES

The free six-part virtual series will include:
8/26 Session 1: Fire Up w/ Brian Hamilton – Register
9/02 Session 2: You have your PPP: What’s next? – Register
9/09 Session 3: An update on the EIDL Program – Register
9/16 Session 4: Building a Sustainable Business Strategy during COVID 19 – Register
9/23 Session 5: Fuel Your Business with SBA Funding – Register
9/30 Session 6: The World’s Largest Opportunity for Small Business: The US Government – Register

WNC AG OPTIONS OFFERING GRANTS FOR DIVERSIFYING FARMS IN 2021

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 $216,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2021. The application deadline is Nov. 20. 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. 23 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Applications are available at wncagoptions.org or at local Cooperative Extension centers. Extension agents remain a resource for farmers throughout the year as they complete their projects.

Applicants are encouraged to participate in information sessions, which will be held via the Zoom online video conferencing platform. Details on these meetings can be found 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.

Help Planning Your Farm Experiences

Is your farm offering virtual learning, small group tours, a drive-through experience or scheduled farm store shopping?

Maybe you’re still brainstorming how to share your farm’s offerings and meet the current COVID-19 rules. To help determine your farm’s plans, click here for the Governor’s Executive order, a Prevent and Protect Tool Kit from the Department of Health and Human Services and more COVID-19 resources from NCDA&CS here.

Examples of allowable activities:

  • U-pick events as long as social distancing is maintained and other requirements are met. Department of Health and Human Services guidance.
  • Tour groups – subject to the mass gathering limit (25 or fewer outside and 10 or fewer inside).
  • Weddings – are allowed and not subject to the mass gathering limits; however, receptions are subject to the mass gathering limits.

Catered dinner events – can proceed under the same guidance and requirements that are in place for restaurants under Phase 2.

Liability Warning Signs: Post a minimum of two signs on your farm.

  1. At the entrance
  2. At each activity where people gather.

Liability signs are available from the NC Agritourism Networking Association. Consider membership or to buy signs contact kristyncana@gmail.com.

If your farm has Fall and Winter agritourism allowable activities planned, complete the easy form below. NCDA&CS and the Visit NC Farms app (see the map to show the communities involved to date), we’ll get the word out.

Mark your calendar with these key dates and raise awareness of your farm’s seasonal activities.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services will help spread the good news to thousands of media contacts and farm stakeholders statewide.

Let’s promote your farm! Click the links below to submit your activities TODAY.

Fall Events (Labor Day-Thanksgiving) – Due August 15

Winter Events (Thanksgiving-Valentine’s Day) – Due October 1

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.

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.

Lights On Covid Recovery Loan

The Lights-On COVID Recovery Loan is a new economic program designed to support small to mid-sized businesses in the NC Triad area whose revenue has been impacted by the pandemic. The program, sponsored by the Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation, offers interest-free, 5-year, non-forgivable loans, with emphasis on downtown and agricultural businesses that can provide proof of hardship. Eligible businesses can apply to borrow from $2,500 to $50,000 through a streamlined, online process. Funds are intended for use as working capital to help with rent, utilities and payroll and more during shutdown and reopening. For questions email microloan@ptrc.org.

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.