BISHOP ALARMED BY REPORTS OF SNAP ACCESS REDUCTIONS AT FARMERS MARKETS, REQUEST UPDATE FROM USDA

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) sent a letter yesterday to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.

They wrote in the letter:

“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.”

The ability of farmers markets to accept SNAP benefits is vital, especially in rural areas where residents travel long distances just to buy food.

They continued:

“The partnership between SNAP and area farmers markets is also critically important to farmers and ranchers in America’s rural economy. Today, SNAP recipients annually purchase more than $18 million worth of products at farmers markets and from direct-marketing farmers, representing a significant share of farm income from coast-to-coast. 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.”