Food Stamps: Louisiana Updates and Expands SNAP EBT WIC Farmers Market Program

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The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) plans to update its Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) by adding new vendors, according to a statement released on May 3 by LDAF. Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides benefits to qualifying low-income seniors and WIC recipients to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey (Senior FMNP only). These are grown locally by Louisiana farmers and sold at LDAF-approved farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

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BRProud.com noted that, unlike SNAP benefits, these funds cannot be used at grocery stores. The program’s funds can only be used by farmers who grow produce and participate in the program. Approved farmers’ markets and roadside stands will be added to a directory for seniors and WIC recipients to reference, allowing vendors to increase their customer base by providing more options for low-income seniors and WIC recipients.

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Another update is that the program is moving to an electronic payment system utilizing QR code benefits cards and a smartphone/tablet application. The LDAF says that this new system will work like a debit card and will reduce administrative work and the time it takes to receive program funds.

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“The modernization of the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program will result in less cost and greater efficiency with the fact that the cards can be recharged each year and will provide for a rapid reimbursement system for the farmers,” said the LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain.

“I’m excited to see where the program will go with these enhancements,” Commissioner Strain added. “The program provides an invaluable service to our seniors and WIC recipients, and we want to see it continue to serve these populations for many years to come.”

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Louisiana farmers interested in the program can call 985-345-9483. Certification for the program is free and training will be provided.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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