Pennsylvania farmers who sell their products direct to consumers through farmers markets or their own retail stores can expand their markets and help address food insecurity by taking advantage of free assistance and equipment to start accepting payments using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Department of Human Services recently received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help more farms with retail operations get started accepting SNAP. The grant covers free wireless, EBT-processing equipment (which is needed to accept SNAP benefits), set-up costs, and one-year of transactions fees.
SNAP assists more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians through a monthly payment based on income and household size, which can be used to purchase eligible produce and groceries. For farmers, accepting SNAP is the same as accepting debit or credit transactions. SNAP benefits cover the full price for a product that any other consumer would pay.
Fewer than 5 percent of Pennsylvania farmers markets and on-farm markets are currently registered to accept SNAP.
“Farmers markets who don’t accept SNAP are missing an opportunity to serve their community by providing those who rely on the benefits with access to nutritious, local food,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding said. “Not only does accepting SNAP benefit your community, but it benefits you. It’s an opportunity to expand your consumer base and increase your sales.”
Interested farm retailers or market owners should apply to accept SNAP through USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Once approved, free equipment can be obtained by contacting Pennsylvania’s EBT processing vendor, Conduent, at 888.736.6328.