Category Archives: Policy

2013 Farm Bill Update: The Senate Floor

Jen O'Brien May 27, 2013

Earlier this month, both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees released their versions of the 2013 Farm Bill. Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee brought their bill to the full Senate floor, where two critical farmers market amendments were introduced. Senator Brown’s amendment, called #1088 Support for Food and Agriculture Market Development, Entrepreneurship, and Education…

2013 Farm Bill Update: FMPP

Jen O'Brien May 16, 2013

The Senate and House Agriculture Committees have both approved their respective versions of the 2013 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation that covers an extremely broad range of issues, but here’s an update on just one piece that we’re happy to share: both the Senate and House versions of the…

Congress is Drafting the 2013 Farm Bill

Jen O'Brien May 9, 2013

The House and Senate are set to start marking up drafts of the farm bill next week! An extremely broad range of issues are covered within the bill—crop subsidies, agricultural research, SNAP, farm exports, rural economic development, rural aid and biofuel development—and the Farmers Market Coalition it dedicated to ensuring the best interests of farmers markets and community farmers are included.

Cuts to 2013 Farmers Market Nutrition Program Funding

Jen O'Brien March 22, 2013

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s continuing resolution funding federal programs through the end of 2013.  Funding for the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNPs) was included in the bill, coming in at $15.3 million for the WIC FMNP, and $19.4 million for the Senior FMNP. Both programs were cut significantly. Senior FMNP was…

Slow and Steady: Farmers Market SNAP Sales Continue to Expand

Liz Comiskey February 15, 2013

By Natalie Roper, FMC Research & Education Intern, and Stacy Miller, Project Director The New Year seems to have kicked off with less than positive news for farmers markets. The nine-month farm bill extension that passed late New Years Day surprised many by failing to provide mandatory funding for a variety of smaller programs that…

Farm Bill Extension a Cold Shoulder to Farmers Markets

Liz Comiskey January 3, 2013

On January 1st, Congress passed a nine-month farm bill extension attached to the larger ‘fiscal cliff’ compromise. Despite a variety of reforms and reauthorizations agreed to earlier this year by Senate and House Agriculture Committees, this extension continues to fund a full year of direct payments for commodities (at $5 billion), while failing to provide…

FMC Submits Recommendations for USDA Farmers Market Research

Stacy January 2, 2013

On January 2nd, the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) submitted recommendations to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service regarding the agency’s collection of data about farmers markets.  These recommendations were developed in response to a request for comments on proposed revisions to USDA’s National Farmers Market Manager Questionnaire.  Changes proposed by USDA include the addition of on-farm…

USDA announces 2012 support for SNAP in farmers markets, issues memorandum on state allocations

Stacy May 9, 2012

The $4 million is being distributed to states using an allocation formula based on the number of markets not accepting SNAP at present. In a memorandum to Regional SNAP and Field Operations Offices, the Food and Nutrition Service explains that allowable costs for the funds (covered at 100%) include the purchase or lease of wireless POS equipment and monthly wireless access fees associated with using that equipment. “States may choose to provide wireless POS equipment that also accepts commercial credit and debit cards, without being required to cost-allocate the cost of equipment or its flat monthly service fees,” provided that markets themselves bear the cost of debit or credit transaction fees unrelated to SNAP wireless access.

USDA Food and Nutrition Services Embarks on Landmark Study

Liz Comiskey January 18, 2012

This unprecedented survey, launched on January 3rd, seeks responses from 3,000 randomly selected farmers market managers and direct marketing farmers around the nation. FMC encourages anyone who has received one of these surveys to take the time to fill it out thoughtfully, either on the paper version received through the mail or through this link. According to Kelly Kinnison, PhD, Social Science Research Analyst at the USDA FNS Office of Research and Analysis, the information gleaned from this comprehensive survey “will be vital to better understanding the characteristics, logistics, opportunities, and challenges of operating federal nutrition programs at farmers markets.”

SNAP Redemptions at Farmers Markets Exceed $11 Million in 2011

Liz Comiskey

Between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011, more than $11,725,316 in SNAP benefits were redeemed at farmers markets, increasing more than $4 million in one year. As overall SNAP redemptions increased 11% between 2010 and 2011, from $64.7 billion to $71.8 billion, SNAP redemptions at farmers markets increased by 55%. Thus, growth in SNAP redemption in farmers markets cannot solely be accounted for by persistent unemployment, more widespread eligibility for the program, and increases in federal SNAP spending. Of the $64,704,407,189 in SNAP dollars redeemed in 2010, .014% was redeemed at farmers markets– a rate that increased to .016% in 2011. These numbers, though they represent a very small piece of the pie, do demonstrate growth.