EBT Equipment In State SNAP Contracts

In addition to providing revenue directly to farmers, ranchers, and small food businesses, farmers markets have become the linchpin of some of America’s most successful nutrition and anti-hunger initiatives. However, markets cannot welcome SNAP shoppers or implement federal nutrition programs if they are unable to access the equipment necessary to complete SNAP transactions. With support from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), FMC’s Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program provided SNAP electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment and three years of service funds to eligible markets and farmers. This program is now offered by a new contractor, Financial Transaction Management, and can be found at this link.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to exempt farmers markets and direct marketing farmers from the requirement that SNAP retailers must purchase their own point-of-sale devices. This means that states must provide farmers markets with SNAP equipment, however, there is no requirement for such equipment to be wireless. In August 2016, USDA sent a letter to state SNAP administrators, strongly urging all 50 states to include no-cost, EBT-only wireless equipment into their state’s EBT contract and take advantage of a 50% federal administrative funding match. To date, nearly half of the states have some form of wireless equipment program for farmers markets.

FMC recommends that state farmers market associations contact their state’s Department of Health and urge them to include no cost EBT equipment in their state SNAP contract.

In March 2019, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) sent a letter to FNS Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps encouraging further action from the federal government in encouraging states to add a free-EBT equipment option for farmers markets to their state contracts.

How does the process work?

States submit a request for proposals (RFP) and solicit bids from EBT service providers. A list of states, their current service providers, and the date of each state’s contract’s expiration can be found here. Some states have included a provision in their RFP’s for no cost EBT equipment for farmers markets. In most instances, EBT service providers charge state health departments on a per-device rate ranging from $35-$55 per month. This is comprehensive flat fee and includes the cost of equipment and service.

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Advocacy

While some states have lept at the opportunity to offer their farmers markets no-cost EBT equipment, state health departments are sometimes unaware of the importance of this issue, and need to be reminded by their state’s farmers markets. This letter, written to the Michigan Department of Human Services by the Michigan Farmers Market Association and the Fair Food Network is an excellent template to work from.

Sample State SNAP RFP Language:

When discussing the issue with your state health department, it can be helpful to share sample RFP language from states that have already included no-cost EBT equipment into their state SNAP contact. Sample RFP language can be found below:

Mississippi

California

South Carolina

If you’re interested in learning more about including a no-cost EBT equipment option in your state’s SNAP contract, or connecting with farmers market leaders in other states working on this issue, please email ebt@farmersmarketcoalition.org.

There are several states offering Free Wireless EBT Equipment to eligible markets and farmers. *For changes to this list, or to add additional information, please email info@farmersmarketcoalition.org

Alaska

  • Contact Reuben Lumbab, EBT Program Coordinator, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, (907) 465-3047, Reuben.lumbab@alaska.gov

Arkansas

California

  • California offers free wireless EBT Equipment to eligible farmers markets and farmers
  • Contact Dianne Padilla Bates: Dianne.Padilla-Bates@dss.ca.gov,  (916) 654-1396

Colorado

  • Colorado has limited resources for free wireless equipment available on a first-come first-serve basis
  • Contact Wendy Moschetti, (7203534120 x 216, wendymoschetti@livewellcolorado.org

Georgia

  • Georgia provides free wireless equipment for a limited number of markets.
  • Contact Carlene Burgess, EBT Director, Georgia Department of Human Services at (404) 657-3782 or carlene.burgess@dhs.ga.gov

Hawaii

  • Hawaii provides a free wireless EBT terminal to qualifying farmers markets.
  • Contact Ginet U’ilani Hayes, ghayes@dhs.hawaii.gov, (808) 586-5739 

Idaho

  • The Iowa Department of Health and Welfare provides free wireless EBT terminals to eligible farmers markets.
  • Contact Eileen Stachowski at info@idahofma.org, 208.614.2292

Iowa

  • The ID Department of Health and Welfare provides free wireless EBT terminals to eligible farmers markets, and covers both wireless and transaction fees associated with managing the SNAP program.
  • Contact Tracy Penick, Adult, Children & Family Services at 515-281-4935 or tpenick@dhs.state.ia.us

Illinois

Indiana

  • The IN Family and Social Services Administration can provide free wireless terminals to eligible farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers. Wireless fees, monthly service fees, data plan fees, and EBT transaction fees are included in the contract, at no cost to the farmer’s markets and direct market farmers. Program support materials (banners) are available through the Indiana State Department of Health
  • Contact Angela Albin, angela.albin@fssa.in.gov, 317-232-7645

Iowa

  • Iowa Department of Human Services’ Wireless EBT Project provides wireless point-of-sales machines to qualified vendors across the state.
  • Contact Tracy Penick at 515-281-4935, tpenick@dhs.state.ia.us

Michigan

  • Michigan Farmers Market Association has made limited funds available for wireless EBT equipment for eligible markets and farmers
  • Contact Amanda Shreve, (517) 432-3381, amanda@mifma.org

Mississippi

  • Contact Joel Savell, eServices Coordinator at (601) 359-4638 or joel.savell@mdhs.ms.gov

New Mexico

  • Farmers’ markets in New Mexico can have their EBT terminals and fees subsidized by the New Mexico Human Services Department.
  • For more information contact Denise Miller, Executive Director, New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, dmiller@farmersmarketsnm.org, (505) 983-4010

North Dakota

  • ND reimburses up to $1,200 for the equipment and signage.
  • Contact Deb Kramer, debkramer@nd.gov, (701) 328-2328

North Carolina

  • NC has an agreement with FIS where qualified farmers markets can obtain wireless equipment at no fee.  While the equipment is covered by the state, all ongoing fees are the responsibility of the market.
  • Contact David F. Steele, 919-527-6429, David.Steele@dhhs.nc.gov

Oklahoma

  • OK provides one free wireless EBT terminal to each eligible market or direct to market farmer.
  • Contact Thomas Pennington, Thomas.Pennington@okdhs.org

South Carolina

  • Contact Gwendolyn Prioleau, Director EBT & Food Assistance Programs, South Carolina Department of Social Services at (803) 898-7104 or Gwendolyn.Prioleau@dss.sc.gov

South Dakota

Virginia

  • Contact Virginia Department of Social Services, Claudia Jackson, SNAP Manager, Benefit Programs Division at (804) 726-7346 or claudia.jackson@dss.virginia.gov

Washington

  • The Washington State Department of Health and Social Services provides free SNAP EBT POS machines for FNS certified Farmers Markets and Direct Marketing Farmers. The program covers the equipment cost, the transaction fees, and annual service charges.
  • Read this handout to learn more.
  • Contact Des Boucher (509) 241-3633 OR Mark Hill (360)725-4555

Wyoming

  • Contact Wyoming Department of Family Services, Christina Nation, EBT Program Manager at (307) 777-5878 or Christina.nation@wyo.gov

2018 Minnesota Summer Bucks Sign-up is Now! (March 6, 2018)

Michigan Agrees to Provide No-Cost EBT Equipment to State’s SNAP-Approved Markets (August 10, 2017)

Legislator Introduces Bill Requiring Missouri to take part in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (April 12, 2017)