UACES Facebook Feb. 11 is sign-up day for EBT grant for farmers markets

Feb. 11 is sign-up day for EBT grant for farmers markets

Fast Facts:

    • One-day application signup for farmers markets to accept electronic benefit transfer cards
    • Signup set for Feb. 11, 1-5 p.m., at 2301 S. University Ave. in Little Rock
    • Vendors must first be approved before accepting EBT cards

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LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas farmers’ market managers and farmers using direct marketing retail methods have an opportunity to apply for a grant to purchase point-of-sale equipment Wednesday, Feb. 11. The equipment makes it possible to expand client bases by accepting electronic benefit transfer cards, or EBTs.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be in Little Rock to help sign up farmers and market managers, and to help speed approval of applications for the grant. Sign-up day runs from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. in the auditorium of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service office at 2301 S. University Ave. in Little Rock.

“Arkansas farmers and market managers can get a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program retailer number in just one day instead of the usual 45-60 days,” said Rosemary Rodibaugh, professor with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Grant money is available to purchase the point-of-sale equipment needed to accept electronic cards used in SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program. These funds are for farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers who are not currently participating in SNAP. Those vendors interested in applying for the grant must first be approved to accept SNAP EBT payments. The grant covers the cost of a point-of-sale device, start-up fees, and the monthly connectivity fee for one year, up to $1,000 per farmer or market.

Out of approximately 269 direct-marketing farmers and farmers’ markets in Arkansas, only about 30 currently accept EBT cards. The cards allow purchasers to use their SNAP benefits to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and food-producing plants and seeds at a market or from a farmer.

The ability of markets and farmers to accept SNAP benefits is a win-win opportunity for both these businesses and SNAP recipients.

    • SNAP recipients obtain increased access to healthier and fresher foods;
    • Farmers and markets increase their customer base, and thus, their sales; and
    • Participation encourages consumption of locally grown food.

“We would like to see every farmers’ market and direct-marketing farmer in Arkansas accept SNAP benefits.  It is a good way for SNAP recipients to eat fresh, locally-grown food and provide a boost in income to these businesses all over the state,” said Michele Rodgers, Department of Human Services SNAP outreach manager. 

To streamline the process, interested farmers or market managers should bring the following on Sign-Up Day:

    • A working e-mail address -- one that is checked at least once a week.
    • A copy of a driver’s license or other valid government identification, or an original to be scanned.
    • A copy of a social security card for the person/s who will be listed on the SNAP-Authorized-Retailer application, or originals to be scanned.
    • A copy of a business license (if you have one — if you do not have a business license this will not apply to you) or an original to be scanned.
    • A bank account number where you will receive the electronic payments from sales.
    • A cancelled check from the same account if you use checks.

Those who are interested in the program but who cannot attend the sign-up day can apply on the USDA website, Learn About SNAP Benefits at Farmers' Markets | Food and Nutrition Service, and follow Step One “to get licensed by FNS.”

For more information about the grant opportunity please contact Michele Rodgers with the Arkansas Department of Human Services at 501-682-8288.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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By The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
Content Specialist 
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120
rmcgeeney@uaex.edu

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