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 John Hammond, Assistant Director Marketing Communications. 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.

NC AgVentures Accepting Grant Applications

NC AgVentures, which is supported by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, is now accepting grant applications and will award a minimum of 40 grants to independent family farms. This is a great opportunity for any producer who is thinking of diversifying, improving, or expanding their operation.

Independent Family Farmers or local community organizations that work directly with farmers from the following counties are eligible to apply:

Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Cabarrus, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Forsyth, Gaston, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Iredell, Johnston, Lincoln, Martin, Mecklenburg, Nash, Northampton, Orange, Person, Pitt, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Sampson, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Union, Vance, Wake, Wayne, Wilson, Wilkes, Warren, Yadkin

Read more here.

Expand your markets across North Carolina and save money on distribution through The Produce Box

Details from The Produce Box (TPB):

  • For the past 15 years, TPB has been delivering to the homes of 8,000 customers across the state using an army of stay-at-home moms (and a few dads).
  • Because our products are hand-delivered, we don’t have the “rough handling” issues that sometimes happen when shipping packages using FED EX, etc.
  • Our cost for delivering is generally half the cost of shipping.
  • We track the delivery of packages, take pictures when delivered and timestamp the process.
  • We have a consistent workforce because they are paid very well. Most are making $20+ per hour.

How it could work:

  • Companies would take orders on their website and send a list of customer names/addresses to TPB each week.
  • TPB can receive deliveries of pre-packed orders each week or can store product in their climate-controlled warehouse and pack the orders.
  • They have 5,000 sq. ft of refrigeration and freezer space as well.
  • Potential start date of November 15th.

For companies that do NOT have Direct to Consumer, TPB can help distribute their products to wholesale accounts. 

  • Expands their market from Wilmington to Charlotte
  • Saves transportation costs if they are delivering it themselves (just need to get it to TPB warehouse or potentially “meet TPD halfway”)
  • Saves shipping costs compared to FED EX, UPS
  • Potential start date of November 15th.

Contact Courtney Tellesfen at courtney@theproducebox.com for more information.

USDA Begins Accepting Applications for $100 Million in Biofuel Infrastructure Grants

Funding Will Increase Availability of Clean Fuels Across the Nation
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for $100 million in grants to increase the sale and use of biofuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.

USDA is making the funding available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). This program seeks to market higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by sharing the costs to build and retrofit biofuel-related infrastructure such as pumps, dispensers and storage tanks.

“The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that rural America is the key to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and giving Americans cleaner, more affordable options at the pump,” Vilsack said. “Biofuels are homegrown fuels. Expanding the availability of higher-blend fuels is a win for American farmers, the rural economy and hardworking Americans who pay the price here at home when we depend on volatile fuel sources overseas.”

Read the full news release to learn more.

 

 

Accelerate Rural NC - Helping Grow Rural NC Companies - Classes Begin August 8 - Sign Up Now!

Accelerate Rural NC is a rural business accelerator focused on helping small businesses gain access to global markets with innovative products. Key components of the accelerator include e-commerce development, development of high-value offerings for niche markets, and export training.  The next program begins August 8 and will run for 10 consecutive weeks.

The program is grant-funded and no cost to participants. Participants will receive:

  • Intensive innovation and entrepreneurship training
  • Prototyping and new product development assistance
  • Web development and e-commerce development
  • Market plan development
  • Export target market identification assistance

The development phase of our program is supported by an Ecosystem grant from NC IDEA.

Interested businesses should apply now!  Click here to apply.

Calling all NC Manufacturers of Shelf Stable Food Products

Heaven’s Gate Orchard, LLC, a veteran owned and operated concern, is preparing to open a Western North Carolina retail sales point at the Western north Carolina Farmers Market in Asheville, NC, and is currently soliciting interested North Carolina manufacturers of shelf stable food products.  This opportunity allows your products to be displayed in a high trafficability, high reputation location, featured with the “best of the best” from North Carolina. Brick and Mortar marketing will be complemented by a strong eCommerce marketing campaign spotlighting your products. Exciting opportunity for North Carolina  suppliers wishing to extend their sales presence in Western North Carolina! Stay tuned for details! Please communicate an initial interest to learn more by emailing Ray Burkart at Raymond.burkart@heavensgateorchard.com.

North Carolina Juice Concentrate Processors Needed

Cool Tropics is looking for North Carolina fruit/vegetable juice processors. To learn more contact Mystie Ziminsky at (781) 357-1210 ext. 3311 or email mystiez@cool-tropics.com.

Got to Be NC Member Spotlight

Your Got to Be NC membership has a new member benefit! Beginning, August 1, 2022 we will list up to ten members in the Member Spotlight section of the Got to Be NC newsletter. The spotlight will include your full color logo with a link to your website as well as a short write up (not to exceed 1,000 characters). The write up can be about your business, farm, product, service, events, etc. Members will be listed on a first come, first served basis, and will be placed on wait list for the next issue if need be.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please submit a high-resolution logo, the link to your website or social media account and your verbiage to Caitlyn Randall at Caitlyn.Randall@ncagr.gov by the 15th of the month.

RETOOLNC GRANT FUNDING IS BACK FOR ROUND 3

The North Carolina Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) has opened applications for grant funds for certified HUBs and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms impacted by COVID-19.

The RETOOLNC program awards up to $25,000 to eligible certified small, underutilized businesses to help with pandemic recovery efforts.

To qualify for RETOOLNC funds, North Carolina businesses must:

·    Have been in operation since February 2019
·    Be certified with NCHUB or NCDOT DBE
·    Be an independent business located within NC
·    Be a business with 50 employees or fewer (includes sole proprietorships, home based businesses, and independent contractors)
·    Not have annual revenues exceeding $1,500,000
·    Not be delinquent on North Carolina State income taxes
·    Not have any active bankruptcies or tax liens
·    Be a for-profit business
·    Be an independent franchisor and locally owned, if it is a franchise
·    Provide a detailed statement of how the business has been impacted due to COVID-19
·    Be engaged in legal activity

To learn more about the RETOOLNC initiative and how to register for the information session, visit the NC HUB Office website for details.

Apple here
Retool NC FAQs

Source: https://ncadmin.nc.gov/retoolnc.

Entries Now Open for the 2023 Good Food Awards

Makers of good food & drink, it’s your time to shine: entries for the 2023 Good Food Awards are now open! From farmstead cheeses to world-class kimchi, the Good Food Awards recognize craftsmanship and flavor alongside environmental and social responsibility–and we want you to be a part of it all.

From June 1-30, the 10-minute entry form will be available here. The $82 entry fee covers the cost of processing, storing, sorting and transporting products to the annual blind tasting, where category experts and professionals from the food community will identify this year’s top scorers. Optional feedback from judges is also available ($15).

For the first three days of entry period (June 1-3), crafters can use code EARLYBIRD to receive $10 off their second entry. BIPOC-identifying crafters can receive one complimentary entry by emailing connect@goodfoodfdn.org.

Questions? Check out the category standards and FAQs, or send us an email.

Enter the Good Food Awards | June 1-30
$82 per entry, $15 optional feedback | Up to 3 entries per category

USDA LAMP Grant Applications Now Open

The USDA recently opened applications for the Local Agriculture Marketing Program (LAMP) grants. These grants include the Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, and the Regional Food System Partnerships.

The LAMP grants recently received $130 million dollars of supplemental funding from the American Rescue Plan to “promote competition and create more and better markets for local and regional food producers by expanding and strengthening opportunities to sell to institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and settings operated by local, tribal, and state governments.”

Learn more on the USDA website

Wilson County Fair - Farm Show January 14, 2023

The first annual Wilson County Farm Show (WCFS) is being scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 9 AM to 5 PM. The WCFS is intended to showcase agriculture products, services, machinery, and businesses. As part of the show, we intend to have a plowing demonstration (tractors 1985 and older), large and small equipment displays. Information and education booths, farm service displays and promotions, and food vending.

To bring the WCFS to life we are seeking commitments to participate and/or sponsor. We will have indoor 8’x10’ booth space available for $50 rental, an additional $10 if electrical power is required. We will have outdoor 20’x30’ equipment spaces available for $200 plus $10 for electric service (can adjust size based on number and size of equipment). Sponsorships of $1000 or more includes the booth/equipment space at no additional cost.

We are also seeking organizations that use food vending opportunities for fundraising to host a food sales booth. If possible, these booths should showcase Wilson agriculture products as part of the theme of the show. These booths will be available at no cost for private organizations as a fundraising opportunity. Commercial food vendors will be charged $50.  We are asking for your commitment to participate and/or sponsor the Farm Show. Please respond as soon as possible by email, text, or return mail with the following information:

  • Organization
  • Point of Contact name/number/email
  • Type of booth (inside or outside)/If electrical power is required
  • If willing to Sponsor and amount

Once enough commitments are received to proceed with the Farm Show we will establish a schedule for booth/sponsor payment. Points of contact for the WCFS are:

 

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 suppliers@specialtyfoodpartners.com) 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.

 

 

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 villagemarketnc@gmail.com.

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 emily@phillipsfarmsofcary.com if you are interested in becoming a vendor.

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.

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.