Marketing - Grading Services

Food Safety Audit Verification Program

The Cooperative Grading Service offers voluntary inspection of fresh fruits and vegetables, peanuts, tree nuts, specialty and ornamental crops.  The service is provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, Federal-State Inspection Service.  The service is available upon request to aid growers, shippers, brokers, receivers, processors, insurance adjusters or other financially interested parties in the packing and marketing of their product.  

The Food Safety Verification Audit Program certify that the fruit and vegetable growers/packers meet food safety guidelines. This program is an audit based verification service that reviews participants' adherence to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP).  Growers/packers who participate and pass the audit will receive certification that they meet GAP standards.   

The audit program is a fee-based service.  Participants are charged a fee based on the time required to conduct the audit and travel expenses of the auditor.  Grower/packers who successfully pass the Good Agricultural Practices audit verification will be listed on USDA Grading, Certification and Verification.

Grain Grading is a self-supporting fee service that is available to farmers and the grain industry.  Grain Graders are licensed and supervised by USDA to issue U.S. Grades on lots of grain being offered for inspection.  North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service Graders are licensed to grade the following : corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, rye, sorghum, barley and sunflower. 


For more information contact: 

Cooperative Grading Service, P.O. Box 588, Williamston, NC 27892

Gregory C. Hoggard, Agricultural Program Manager,

Brooke Stephenson, Lead Auditor,

Melissa Craddock, Office Manager,

Phone: (252) 792-1672  Fax: (252) 792-4784

Cost Share Assistance & Grain Grading

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The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has developed the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification Assistance Program. This program will help North Carolina growers with financial support in obtaining a third party audit to verify they are following effective food safety practices.

The Water Analysis Cost Share Program encourages water testing as part of a pre/post-harvest food safety program for fruit and vegetable crops.  The program will assist in paying for the cost of testing irrigation and/or packing house wash water.  The NCDA&CS will reimburse growers up to $1,000 for laboratory analysis to determine the quantitative presence of generic E. coli bacteria in irrigation or wash water by a certified laboratory.  Funding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers; bio-engineering; or ionizing radiation.  Before a product can be labeled USDA organic, a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified too.

To obtain this symbol the food must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water and salt.

Certified organic operations can apply for cost share assistance through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) or at any Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office.  There is no difference in your eligibility or reimbursement amount; however the paperwork may differ between agencies.  

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture offers a training program which includes grain grading procedures, proper use of grain grading equipment, and handouts with helpful information for all grains that are grown in North Carolina.  This training is offered on a fee basis to anyone interested in grain grading in North Carolina.  Training can be tailored to your needs at your buying facility or larger groups if buyers want to coordinate a school for this purpose. 

Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) must approve all fees for official services and OA's will assess only those appearing on their current approved fee. 
Click here to view the Grain Inspection Fees and Charges.   

Official Commercial Inspection is available to all applicants and will be negotiated on a case by case basis.  Service requests not covered by the above fees will be performed at the applicable hourly rate.  Special request testing not performed by the NCDA&CS will be sent to the USDA FGIS for testing and assessed at their approved rates.

                                                                                 GRAIN GRADING OFFICES

Raleigh Office
Jason Jernigan
COOP Agricultural Program Manager 

David Deyton
COOP Agricultural Commodities Supervisor                  


Fayetteville Office
Detric Mcearchern
1650 River Rd.
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Phone (910) 486-1630 
Fax (910) 437-2584                                                           


Elizabeth City Office
Josh Hawkins
407 G South Griffin Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27909 
Phone (252) 337-9782
Fax (252) 337-9784


Selma Office
Alex Brubaker 
404 E. Preston Street
Selma NC 27576
Phone (919) 202-5774
Fax (919) 202-8419


If interested in receiving training, reference material or additional information about grain contact Jason Jernigan (919) 202-5774 or write to: North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Cooperative Grading Service, P.O. Box 27647, Raleigh, NC 27611.