Agribusiness Resources (Listed by Topic)
Frequently Asked Questions

GAIN - Agribusiness Resources by Agency

We have compiled a listing of resources on a variety of topics that might be relevant to your situation. Click on an agency below to go directly to a list of that agency's resources.

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Agribusiness Development: Whether yours is an existing agribusiness ready for expansion, or a new idea for a value-added agricultural product, our agribusiness developers can provide you with assistance in business planning or expansion, financing and site location.  We partner with other agencies to provide you with a comprehensive approach to developing your business.

Ron Fish, Assistant Director
(919) 707-3119

Annette Dunlap, Agribusiness Developer, Eastern NC
(919) 707-3117

Robert Grooms, Agribusiness Developer, Western NC
(828) 670-7518

Agritourism: The Agritourism Office helps farmers increase their income and consider options available in agritourism to market and/or enlarge their farms. Through workshops, the office also makes information available on topics such as insurance, highway signage and local regulatory issues, and publicizes to the public ways visitors can find agritourism farms, all in an effort to stimulate the farm and rural economy.

Martha Glass, Manager
(919) 707-3120

Aquaculture: Aquaculture is the farming of fish and aquatic plants. NCDA&CS is the state’s lead agency to offer guidance and assistance in the development of aquaculture business.

Warm Water
Pete Anderson (office in New Bern)
(252) 633-1477

Cold Water
Debra Sloan (office in Franklin)
(828) 524-1264

Dairy: North Carolina has embarked on a strategic plan to promote the development of dairies within the state.  Find out about the state’s plan and determine whether or not it provides you with a potential business opportunity.
Steven C. Lathrop, Dairy Specialist
(336) 402-5817 or (919) 707-3130

Green Industry: The state’s green industry includes nursery, landscape, herbs, turfgrass and sod, and Christmas trees. NCDA&CS agribusiness development and green industry specialists can work with you to identify business opportunities in this agricultural area.

Nick Augostini, Assistant Director
Marketing Division
(919) 707-3125

Horticulture: Whether you are considering growing fruits and vegetables for the farmers market, looking for larger market opportunities or thinking about organic certification, NCDA&CS Horticulture Marketing Specialists can provide you with current information about fertility, crop selection and market information.
Nick Augostini, Assistant Director
(919) 707-3125

Livestock: North Carolina offers many opportunities to develop a successful livestock business.  NCDA&CS livestock specialists provide guidance on developing a dairy or beef cattle herd, or raising sheep, goats or swine.  The Department’s Livestock Section has several resources available to help you make your business decisions.
Neil Bowman, Manager
(919) 707-3146

Meat & Egg Marketing: Are you processing your animals and marketing meat or processed items?  NCDA&CS can provide you with current information concerning the marketing of meat items.

Kim Decker, Marketing Specialist
(919) 707-3116

Small Farms: NCDA&CS provides assistance for owners of small farms.  The Small Farms section offers expertise on crop selection, insurance options, and market opportunities.

Cliff Sutton , Small Farms Specialist
(919) 707-3068

Legal Issues: 

Tina Hlabse , Legal Affairs
(919) 707-3013

N.C. State University

N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Extension Team -

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service houses a multidisciplinary group of professionals at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis as part of the Plants for Human Health Institute. Providing expertise in farm business management, communications and marketing, and fresh produce safety, these Cooperative Extension staff serve as an outreach component to complement the research conducted at the institute.

The N.C. Value-Added Cost Share Program also housed at the N.C. Research Campus provides assistance with feasibility studies, business structure and business planning as well as cost-share to agricultural producers and processors for equipment for adding or expanding value-added agriculture products. Learn more at

Jonathan Baros, Extension Economist
(704) 250-5458

Blake Brown, Extension Economist & Professor
(704) 250-5404

Agricultural and Resource Economics -

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics addresses important issues regarding the management of agricultural and related businesses, the functioning of agricultural markets, the protection and use of resources, the performance of government policies affecting agricultural and related industries, and the impacts of decisions made by consumers with respect to the purchase of food and fiber products.

Blake Brown - peanuts, tobacco, cotton, policy and farm management
(704) 250-5404

Ed Estes - vegetable marketing/management, farmers' markets, alternative/specialty crops
(919) 515-4553

Ted Feitshans - agricultural and environmental law
(919) 515-5195

Arnie Oltmans - agricultural finance, farm/tax seminar
(919) 515-4546

Nick Piggott - grain marketing and international trade
(919) 515-4668

Rod Rejesus - applied production economics, crop insurance, and agricultural technology assessment
(919) 513-4605

Mitch Renkow - rural economic and community development, waste management
(919) 515-5179

Charles Safley - marketing/management for fruits, ornamentals, Christmas trees, turf/garden center retailing
(919) 515-4538

Guido Van der Hoeven - income taxes, agricultural finance, farm planning, farm information system
(919) 515-9071

Tom Vukina - poultry industry organization/management/marketing, environmental/resource economics
(919) 515-5864

Kelly Zering - swine management/marketing, waste management
(919) 515-6089

OFF CAMPUS – John M. O’Sullivan - farm management, small farms
(336) 334-7957

Animal Science Extension -

Dr. Todd See, Professor and Interim department head
(919) 515-8797

Poultry Science Extension -

Mike Wineland, Department Extension Leader
(919) 515-5529

Kathy Bunton, Area Specialized Poultry Agent, Wilkes County
(704) 878-3154

Dan Campeau, Area Specialized Poultry Agent, Chatham County
(919) 542-8202

Richard Goforth, Area Specialized Poultry Agent, Union County
(704) 283-3801

James Parsons, Area Specialized Poultry Agent, Duplin County
(910) 296-2143

Tom Vukina, Poultry Economist
(919) 515-5864

Aquaculture Extension -

Warm Water
Harry Daniels, Extension Aquaculture Specialist
(919) 515-4589

Mike Frinsko, Area Aquaculture Agent, Jones Co. NCCES Office
(252) 448-9621 x228

Steve Gabel, Area Aquaculture Agent, Chowan Co. NCCES Office
(252) 482-6585
Steve Gabel's Web site

Cold Water
Jeff Hinshaw, Extension Aquaculture Specialist,
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center
(828) 684-3562

Skip Thompson, Area Aquaculture Agent, Haywood Co. NCCES Office
(828) 456-3575
Trout Production in North Carolina

Molly Sandfoss, Area Aquaculture Agent, McDowell Co. NCCES Office
(828) 652-7121

Recirculating Systems
Tom Losordo, Extension Aquaculture Specialist
(919) 515-6784

Dennis DeLong, Extension Aquaculture Specialist
(919) 513-2106

Dairy  Extension -

Steve Washburn, reproduction and management
(919) 515-7726
Fax: (919) 515-6884

Shannon Davidson, Extension Dairy Animal Science Extension Specialist
Nutrition, forage and feeding management
(919) 515-4045
Fax: (919) 515-2152

Brinton A.  Hopkins, Professor & Extension Dairy Specialist
Dairy cattle nutrition and feeding; dairy heifer growth and performance
(919) 515-7592
Fax: (919) 515-2152

Lon Whitlow, Professor Emeritus
Dairy cattle nutrition and feeding management; toxicology and mycotoxins; nutritional disorders; program coordination
(919) 515-7602

Greg Bethard, Assistant Director, Dairy Records Management Systems
Provides leadership to dairy records management sysstems in dairy analytics and technology
(919) 661-6168
Fax: (919) 661-3145

Martina Day, Area Dairy Specialist, Chatham County
(919) 542-8202

Gary Cartwright, Pilot Plant Coordinator
Dairy Products Processing

Michael T. Roberts, Extension Associate, Dairy Production and Marketing
N.C. Research Campus
600 Laureate Way
Kannapolis, NC 28081
Phone: 704-250-5429
Fax: 704-250-5409

County Cooperative Extension Centers -

County Cooperative Extension Centers -

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
RM 3028 Biltmore Hall, Box 8004 NCSU, Raleigh NC 27695-8004
Phone: (919) 515-4260
Fax: (919) 515-3687

Small Farms Development - Chatham County Extension

Debbie Roos, Growing Small Farms
(919) 542-8202

N.C. A&T State University

N.C. A&T State University Alternative Enterprises -

This program provides extension educational resources to small-scale producers about the selection of and development of alternative enterprises. These enterprises are primarily horticultural but also include livestock, nursery and aquaculture.

Keith Baldwin, Horticulture Specialist
(336) 334-7957

Community Supported Agriculture -

Technical assistance to county-based extension personnel who work directly with growers who deal with planning and marketing issues associated with existing community supported agriculture (CSA) or subscription sales.

Farm Management for successful direct marketing -

This program provides educational resources to improve farm business management skills so that limited resource, small and part-time farmers can increase their income from direct marketing.

John O'Sullivan, Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
(336) 334-7957

Farmers Adopting Computer Training (FACT)

This project is designed to train farm families one-on-one or in group settings how to use computers for their farming operations in order to become more competitive in the marketplace.

Courtney T. Owens , Extension Associate
(336) 285-4623

Francis Walson, Extension Associate
(336) 334-7956

Small-Scale Production of Horticulture, Flowers and Fruits -

This program provides extension educational resources to small-scale producers about production practices to improve small-scale production of horticultural vegetables, flowers and fruit.

Keith Baldwin, Horticulture Specialist
(336) 334-7957

Successful Small Farming, Direct Marketing -

This program offers educational resources through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension system to improve the direct marketing skills of limited-resource farmers.

John O'Sullivan, Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
(336) 334-7957

N.C. Agricultural Finance Authority

Programs available include:  Farmers having difficulty qualifying for conventional loans, Beginning Farmer Loan Program, Agricultural Development Bonds, Facilities Disaster Loans, Agribusiness Loans.

Frank Bordeaux, Executive Director
(919) 790-3949

USDA Farm Service Agency

The Farm Service Agency administers and manages farm commodity, credit, conservation, disaster and loan programs as laid out by Congress through a network of federal, state and county offices.

USDA Rural Development

Provides loan guarantees and direct loans for expansions and preservation of jobs in rural areas, grants which provide funding for technical assistance, training, and planning activities; finance the development of small and emerging private business enterprises, for the development incubator projects, medical and training projects, and feasibility studies, services to assist rural residents in forming new cooperative businesses and improving the operations of existing cooperatives.  Value-Added Program grants enable producers of agricultural commodities to participate in the value-added market. Renewable Energy Grants enable agricultural producers and small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy improvements to reduce the cost and consumption of the nation's energy needs.

N.C. Community College System

Career Counciling/Retraining/Job skills

Small Business Development -
Contact the Small Business Center at your local community college.

Rural Advancement Foundation International

The Rural Advancement Foundation International provides financial planning assistance and advocates for the farmer to lenders and other agencies.
PO Box 640, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Phone: (919) 542-1396
Fax: (919) 542-0069

Land Loss Prevention Project

The Land Loss Prevention Project, a nonprofit organization, provides legal assistance and support throughout North Carolina to financially distressed and limited-resource farmers, landowners and homeowners seeking to protect their land and livelihoods and advance their farming businesses.
P.O. Box 179
Durham, NC 27702
1-800-672-5839 or (919) 682-5969
Fax: (919) 688-5596

N.C. Home Protection Program and Loan Fund

The North Carolina Home Protection Program and Loan Fund helps workers who lose their jobs as the result of changing economic conditions avoid foreclosure of their homes. Created by the General Assembly in 2004 and operated by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the program was recently expanded to assist workers who have lost their jobs in all 100 counties.
North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
3508 Bush Street
Raleigh, NC 27609
(919) 877-5700

N.C. Division of Mental Health Services

The emotional impact of traumatic events can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. For many, it is easy to focus all energies on helping other people or on maintaining daily schedules and routines. Although these efforts deserve attention, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and to monitor your own emotions during difficult times.

N.C. Division of Social Services

The Division of Social Services provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to the local staff who work in programs for families and children including Child Welfare, Family Support, Work First, Child Support, and Food and Nutrition Services.

Additional Resources for Exploring New Opportunities:

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Ames Iowa

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center is an electronic, national resource for producers interested in value-added agriculture.

1111 NSRIC
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-3310

Business Link North Carolina

Business Link North Carolina can connect you to services and offering provided by state-supported agencies, many of which are free.


N.C. Small Business & Technology Center

The Small Business & Technology Development Center is The University of North Carolina’s business and technology extension service. The SBTDC is administered by N.C. State University on behalf of The University of North Carolina System, and is operated in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

5 West Hargett Street, Suite 600
Rleigh, NC 27601-1348
Phone: (919) 715-7272 or toll-free in N.C. 1-800-258-0862
Fax: (919) 715-7777

N.C. Dairy Producers Association

Norman Jordan Jr., President

Cory Lutz , Vice President
(704) 735-1222

N.C. Farm Bureau

Chester Lowder, Livestock Director
(919) 788-1016


Page updated June 24, 2013