Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

SNAP: New Rules Aim to Expand Access to Farmers’ Markets!

USDA is working hard to expand access to farmers’ markets for those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (used with permission)

USDA is working hard to expand access to farmers’ markets for those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (used with permission)

As USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, I can tell you that there are few things I enjoy more than visiting one of the many thousands of farmers’ markets in communities across our verdant country. There’s just no better opportunity to sample the bounty of American agriculture.

The fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods you can find at farmers’ markets are the foundation of sound nutrition. Which is why USDA is working hard to expand access to farmers’ markets for those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Farmers and farmers’ markets value their ability to accept SNAP benefits as a way to attract a wider customer base and increase sales. But many say that the cost of installing and operating EBT equipment at farmers’ markets is a barrier.

To help clear that hurdle, USDA recently expanded eligibility for funding intended to increase the availability of wireless point-of-sale technology in farmers’ markets. Those funds are now available not only to farmers’ markets, but also to direct marketing farmers operating in markets that aren’t already accepting SNAP benefits. Funds may be used to purchase or lease equipment and pay for wireless access. Funds are available through September 30, 2013 and will be dispensed by state agencies. Click here for more information about the funds and how to apply to be a SNAP retailer.

At USDA, we’ve made encouraging farmers’ markets to accept SNAP benefits a priority in recent years. In 2008, about 750 farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers accepted SNAP. In 2012, more than 3,200 did – a four-fold increase in markets, which was accompanied by a six-fold increase in redemptions at these outlets. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in just a few short years. But we need to do more.

Research shows that about 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food ends up in the pockets of American farmers. Installing wireless technology at farmers’ markets expands the customer base for markets and increases the share of the SNAP dollar that goes directly back to local farmers. And that helps nourish local economies.

Expanding SNAP access at farmers’ markets truly is a win-win opportunity all around. Because there’s no better place to savor the flavor of farm-fresh food than at one of America’s farmers’ markets.

5 Responses to “SNAP: New Rules Aim to Expand Access to Farmers’ Markets!”

  1. Jennifer OBrien says:

    Hello! Could you please tell me where to find the data behind the statement, “Research shows that about 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food ends up in the pockets of American farmers.”

    Thank you,
    Jen O’Brien

  2. Farmer Ama,Nama Farm Jericho VT says:

    at our farmers market in Jericho Vt the market manager brought in the EBT machine so we can serve MORE of our local community. And we have tokens that other programs distribute to WIC mothers and Elderly VT folk. Its great! We love these programs, and it doesnt take much to administrate and collect the tokens/ coupons etc. SNAP: America doing what it should, helping our fellow Americans. As Christ said, “..the least of these…”

  3. M M says:

    The SNAP program needs to expand, especially in rural communities close to farms. Providing easier access for payment assists the supplier and the consumer, many of whom want fresh locally grown produce.

  4. Bobbie Jo Henry says:

    All I can say about this news and SNAP administration is that it makes me proud to be a federal worker, taxpayer, and American. When some may criticize a too-large Federal Government, let them conduct research like I am to find the good and positive rather than the bad and negative. Keep up the good work for our good government, as they say.

  5. Jordon says:

    Those who criticize too large government are correct. However this is one program that does what it is intended to.
    When government work force is what it is here, there is no way the people can afford to pay all the different programs, to the government they now serve. SNAP is one program well organized and needed. But hundreds of others are counterproductive to this country. Finish your research.

Leave a Reply