Bishop urges USDA to ensure SNAP recipients' access to farmers markets continues
Rep. Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA 2nd District) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) sent a letter on July 12 to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding recent media reports that thousands of low-income people could lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets across the country because a company providing the SNAP payment platform plans to shut down, according to a joint press release.
“USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service was recently notified that a company currently providing a SNAP transaction platform plans to shut down. At present, many details surrounding this situation remain unclear; however, we would like to stress the importance of identifying a timely solution to this impending problem,” Bishop and DeLauro wrote.
The two representatives also noted that the partnership between SNAP and farmers markets is also important to farmers and ranchers in America’s rural economy. SNAP recipients purchase more than $18 million worth of products a year at farmers markets.
“Any loss of access to SNAP benefits at farmers markets would result in increased hunger and food insecurity for low-income people and decreased revenues for America’s small farmers and ranchers,” Bishop and DeLauro wrote.
On July 14 the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which administers the SNAP program, issued a statement that the USDA is exploring options to find a replacement mobile EBT provider to avoid a service interruption.