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Funding to Increase Farmers’ Market Participation in SNAP: Complete This Survey Today

A Message to Farmers Markets from the WV Department of Health and Human Resources - EBT Project Office

On May 9, 2012 the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized the Department of Health and Human Resources for funding to help States expand availability of wireless point of sale (POS) technology in farmers' markets that were not participating in the SNAP program as of November 18, 2011. West Virginia would like to utilize these funds but to do so we must obligate them by September 30, 2012. To assist us in implementing this initiative, we would like to identify the interested and eligible farmers markets. If you are interested in receiving assistance to implement a wireless POS system at your farmers market, please read below and then click here to complete our Eligibility Survey for Farmers Markets by August 11, 2012. Completing the survey lets the EBT Project Office know of your interest in the program.

Personnel with the Community Transformation Grant Program, administered by the Office of Health Systems and Health Promotion will be contacting FNS authorized farmers’ markets that do not qualify for these special funds to determine their interest in wireless POS equipment and assist them. Additionally, through our partners including the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, training and technical assistance may be provided to farmers markets that wish for help in implementing a new SNAP system. Therefore, even if your market was already participating in the SNAP program prior to November 18, 2011, please fill out the survey so that you can be contacted about the alternative funds and training options.

Program Criteria

• A farmers' market is defined by the FNS as a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products directly to the general public at a central or fixed location, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains).
• Each farmers’ market location may only receive one piece of POS equipment.
• Individual farmers, direct marketing farmers, individual farm stands, and other individual vendors are not eligible to receive equipment acquired with these funds.
• These funds may not be used to pay for any fees specifically unrelated to SNAP wireless access such as transaction fees.
• Farmers’ market locations operating under an “umbrella” authorization may continue to operate as such. However, if a market wants to receive equipment acquired with these funds, then it will have to apply for its own authorization and may therefore be eligible for this initiative.
• States may choose to provide POS equipment that also accepts credit card and debit card transactions
• Each farmers’ market location must obtain its own SNAP authorization, and that authorization can only be used at that market location. Markets will need to have some type of token process (or alternative) in place before getting FNS approval. To learn more about this SNAP requirements go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm
• For a specific handbook see: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5085298&acct=wdmgeninfo
• Application for SNAP authorization may be completed using the following link http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/register.htm
• Applying to accept SNAP benefits at your Farmers’ Market is a three step process: get a USDA account, fill out an application online, and mail in supporting documentation to complete your file.
• Online applications to accept SNAP benefits at your Farmers’ Market are fast and secure. You can complete the online application in as little as 15 minutes. By applying online, you can also check the real-time status of your application online using your USDA account.

Click here to complete the Eligibility Survey for Farmers Markets
Completing the survey lets the EBT Project Office know of your interest in the program.

Questions about the program? Please Contact Pamela A. Santone, Director, EBT/Facilities System Administration, WV DHHR EBT Project Office: (304) 558-0055, Pamela.A.Santone@wv.gov

For technical assistance completing the Eligibility Survey, contact Mo Early at the WV Food & Farm Coalition: earlme9@wfu.edu, or (304) 488-6837