The Washington Post

USDA expands SNAP access at farmers markets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday announced a $4 million plan to increase the use of federal food credits at farmers markets.

The initiative will expand wireless access to qualified retailers that do not already accept payments through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, which provides financial assistance to help people with little to no income purchase food.

Congress’s 2012 spending plan authorized the $4 million to help markets buy or lease wireless point-of-sale equipment to connect sellers with SNAP. The funding will be available through Sept. 30.

(Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post) (Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post)

“These grants increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers and further encourage them to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families using SNAP benefits,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon.

The program could also increase the customer base for farmers markets, as well as the amount of SNAP funding that goes directly to local farmers or economies, according to Concannon.

Farmers currently collect about 20 percent of every SNAP dollar spent on food, according to Concannon. (An earlier version of this blog item mistakenly attributed the 20-percent figure to a USDA report).

The number of farmers markets accepting SNAP payments has grown from about 750 in 2008 to more than 3,200 last year, according to the USDA. More would participate if not for the cost of the necessary equipment, the agency’s report said.


For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, subscribe to his Facebook page or e-mail

E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debate tonight. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Heading into the debate...
Donald Trump returns to the Republican presidential debate stage Saturday night. Marco Rubio arrives as a sudden star, but fending off ferocious attacks from his rivals. Still glowing from his Iowa victory, Ted Cruz is trying to consolidate conservative support, while Ben Carson is struggling to avoid being typecast as the dead man walking.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
56% 36%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 6: GOP debate

on ABC News, in Manchester, N.H.

Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.