CT Farmers may sign up for USDA SNAP program

Farmers interested in becoming authorized to accept federal USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) coupons are encouraged to register during a Merchant Sign-Up Day March 25 and March 31.

The sign-up days will provide a one-stop shop to help farmers get authorized and receive support for incentive programs to encourage SNAP customers to shop at farms and farmers’ markets.

“This program is a great way to help farmers grow their business, for farmers’ markets to increase their customer base, and for low-income households to gain greater access to fresh Connecticut Grown produce,” Reviczky said.

The state agriculture department is working with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and MarketLinkTM to host the sign-up days.

“The ability to accept SNAP benefits helps farmers expand their customer base and economically support their local community.” said Kurt Messner, acting regional administrator for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Northeast Regional Office.

Sign-up days will be held Wednesday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Middlesex County Extension Center, 1066 Saybrook Road (Rt. 154), Haddam; and Tuesday, March 31, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby.

Grants are also available for free wireless Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) equipment and internet access.

Connecticut SNAP authorized farmers and farmers markets can also participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants,  and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods such as fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs.

Currently, there are 156 Connecticut farmers markets listed in the USDA National Farmers Market Directory and 15 farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers are authorized to accept SNAP statewide. Farmers who are interested in becoming an authorized SNAP Retailer should bring the following items to the sign-up event:

• Picture ID such as driver’s license or passport

• Social Security Card or other official document with name and SSN

• Copy of voided check for bank account you will use to deposit funds.

Register by completing the Eligibility Assessment and indicating attendance at http://marketlink.org/about/eligibility-assessment/

For more information, visit fns.usda.gov/programs-and-services.

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