2023 FMC Updated Policy Priorities
Posted On: May 11, 2023
As Farm Bill negotiations heat up, we would like to take the opportunity to share our revised Farm Bill priorities. This update includes priorities related to the acceptance and processing of SNAP and other federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets, specifically the need to:
- Provide farmers and markets with appropriate and no-cost equipment to process federal nutrition benefits (SNAP, Farmers Market Nutrition Program)
- Streamline the application for farmers to process federal nutrition benefits
- Designate a role for market managers, and provide funding for farmers market operators for outreach and training associated with SNAP processing
- Increase FNS capacity to conduct planning efforts and outreach.
These proposed solutions are based on our historical experiences with the SNAP program, research, and feedback from farmers markets nationwide. We believe they are crucial steps toward a more equitable food system. Research from Darcy Freedman with Case Western provides direct evidence to support the importance of the new SNAP priorities #2 and #3 (listed below). The factors most correlated to the success of incentive programs were the presence of a paid market manager and the existence of other incentives or benefits.
Updated FMC Farm Bill Policy Priorities
Red=Updates Added 5/23
- Improve FMPP Grants to make them simpler, more accessible, and easier to understand; provide greater support to applicants and potential applicants; and increase funding to BIPOC-led organizations and regions of the country that have received fewer grants historically. Specific changes would include:
- A simplified application process for grants less than $100,000 to be used for a pre-established set of activities
- Reduce or eliminate match requirements
- Build a mechanism to provide assistance and training to grantees and potential grantees, review and report on FMPP grant impacts, and conduct analysis in the field of farmers markets
- Provide greater geographic balance relative to the benefits of the program
- Include eligibility for SNAP activities such as planning, outreach, and staffing
- Ensure that the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program is well funded and program design does not undermine the effectiveness of farmers markets and other farm direct sales.
- Define farmers markets as essential infrastructure in the Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance.
- Ensure that the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program is equitably distributed, administrative support is funded and effectively reaches senior populations, and the move to electronic methods of distribution is effective.
SNAP Program Policy Priorities
- Ensure farmers have access to no-cost, appropriate equipment for their setting by requiring states to include appropriate equipment in their contracts with their third-party processors. This creates a continuous contractual obligation, providing farmers with working SNAP processing equipment.
- Streamline farmers’ ability to apply for and process all federal nutrition benefits, including SNAP, WIC, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP), and incentive programs, through a single application and a single piece of equipment.
- Designate a role and provide funding for farmers market operators/managers to:
- Process federal benefits on behalf of farmers, and
- Assist in the outreach and training related to SNAP processing for market farmers
- Increase FNS capacity to conduct planning efforts, process additional farmer applications, and conduct outreach to inform farmers and markets of any proposed changes.
WIC FMNP Policy Positions
- Maintain and increase funding for the program
- Child Nutrition Reauthorization:
- Develop eWIC solutions for farmers markets
- Allow eWIC FMNP to be redeemed through a central point of sale at farmers markets
- Raise the minimum FMNP benefit level and eliminate the maximum
- Eliminate the State Matching Requirement
- Allow states more flexibility through increased administrative funds
For additional background on FMC’s policy priorities, read our blog post from August 2022.
Please email Ben Feldman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sarah Hale (email@example.com) with any questions.