Live Updates: Novo Dia Group Shutdown

This page is designed to keep you updated as this situation unfolds, and offer potential solutions to avoid disruptions in service. Check back on this page for regular updates as FMC gathers more information on the situation.


Summary of the Situation:

  • On July 2, 2018, Novo Dia Group (NDG) announced it will go out of business July 31, 2018, effectively ending their MobileMarket+ app, program formally known as MarketLink, and terminating service to their customers. NAFMNP has recently stepped in to provide funding that will keep Novo Dia in business for an additional month, moving the official “shutdown” date to August 31st. 
  • Novo Dia Group is the largest supplier of SNAP payment processing equipment to farmers markets in the country. Over 1,700 (or 40%) of farmers markets and farmers that accept SNAP nationwide are currently customers.
  • From 2015 to November 2017, FMC was contracted by the USDA to manage the SNAP EBT Equipment Program. Novo Dia Group was included as one of three SNAP EBT equipment and service provider options for farmers markets and direct-marketing farmers while FMC managed the program.
  • After the program’s contract was put through the government’s standard competitive bid process in early 2018, a new contractor, Financial Transaction Management (FTM), was selected to take over the program in April.
  • While various factors are attributed to the Novo Dia Group shutdown, FTM’s decision not to include NDG as an equipment provider for the program has impacted the group’s ability to sustain operations.
  • FTM’s equipment program began accepting applications July 17, 2018, but those who previously received equipment from the equipment program are not eligible to apply for new equipment through FTM’s program. In the past, USDA FNS had allowed markets and farmers to apply for new equipment through the program if service was discontinued. The USDA noted the eligibility requirement in a statement issued July 14, 2018. 
  • On July 27, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement had been reached with NDG to stave off the company’s shutdown until the end of the 2018 season.


What is FMC’s role now?

FMC is deeply concerned about the shutdown and how it will impact farmers markets, farmers, and SNAP customers. Helping NDG customers navigate the challenges associated with the shutdown is our top priority.

The news could not have come at a worse time. A disruption to SNAP payment processing services (during the busiest time of year for many markets) will hit markets hard, threaten the prosperity of small farmers, and impact the ability for hungry Americans to access fresh, affordable food.

We are doing everything we can to learn more about the situation and are working toward a solution or mitigation plan to help NDG customers avoid, or prepare for, a disruption in service. Last week, we held a conference call with leaders across the country to assess the problem, brainstorm solutions, and identify action items. We will continue to engage these individuals, as well as elected officials, the USDA, and parties associated with the shutdown to find solutions and keep our network up to date with the latest information.

The situation is evolving quickly. Please keep checking this page for new and updated information. If you have any questions, or have information you think we should add to this page, contact Emma Hansen at emma@farmersmarketcoalition.org.


Fundraiser:

FMC is raising money to help farmers markets and farmers buy new SNAP EBT equipment. Click the link below to donate, and/or share across your networks. To make it a success, we need your help to spread the word!

Save SNAP at Farmers Markets (GoFundMe)


The Latest News:

08/02/18 – Novo Dia Group Provides FAQs about agreement with State of NY and Farmers Market Federation of NY

Highlights:  FAQs for those seeking additional information about the agreement.

07/27/18 – NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces Plan to Protect SNAP Recipients Access to Farmers Markets

Highlights:  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement has been reached with Novo Dia Group to enable SNAP recipients to continue to use their benefits at farmers markets across the state, and *nationwide* through the rest of the farmers market season.

07/19/18 – NAFMNP to Provide Funding to Avoid Shutdown of Novo Dia Group and Prevent Disruption in SNAP Processing

Highlights:  NAFMNP is stepping in to stave off shutdown in SNAP processing at farmers markets across the country for an additional 30 days. Read this article to learn more.

07/18/2018 – SNAP EBT Equipment Program Opens Under New Contractor, Financial Transaction Management

Highlights: While the SNAP EBT Equipment Program is now accepting applications through the new contractor, Financial Transaction Management (FTM), those who previously received equipment from the equipment program are not eligible to apply for new equipment through FTM’s program. In the past, USDA FNS had allowed markets and farmers to apply for new equipment through the program if service was discontinued, so this news is unexpected news. *More info on this news forthcoming*

07/16/2018 – U.S. Senators Send Letter to USDA Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps

Highlights: 14 U.S. Senators sent a letter to USDA Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps expressing deep concern for the shutdown and how it would impact SNAP recipients, farmers markets, and farmers.

07/14/2018 – USDA Releases a Statement on SNAP Access at Farmers Markets

Highlights: Although FMC had hoped markets and farmers that previously contracted with Novo Dia would be eligible for new equipment through the EBT Equipment Program, USDA states that the new contractor (Financial Transaction Management- FTM) has “no role in supporting those markets equipped under previous contracts”.

07/13/18 – FMC Statement on Novo Dia Group Shutdown

Highlights: FMC expresses deep concern for markets impacted by Novo Dia Group shutdown, shares updates and action items, and reinforces commitment to helping affected markets identify solutions and/or develop a mitigation plan.

07/13/2018 – Novo Dia Sends an Update

Highlights: Information being shared that Novo Dia would shut down data services on July 19th was not accurate. Data services will shut down with the Mobile Market+ app on July 31st.

07/13/18 – Members of Congress Send a Letter to Sonny Perdue 

Highlights: The news of the shutdown has captured the attention of members of Congress, including Congressman Sanford Bishop, Jr. and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro who sent a letter Friday (July 13th) to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing deep concern for the shutdown and how it would impact SNAP recipients, farmers markets, and farmers.

07/12/18 – New York Governor Sends Letter to Sonny Perdue

Highlights: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also sent a letter to the USDA, with “deep outrage” concerning the impact to farmers markets and SNAP customers.


States with Free Wireless Options

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 Emma Hansen at emma@farmersmarketcoalition.org

Idaho

  • 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 Eileen Stachowski at info@idahofma.org, 208.614.2292

Hawaii

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

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

Oklahoma

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

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

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

Michigan

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

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

Illinois

Arkansas

  • Arkansas offers free wireless equipment to eligible Famrers Markets and Direct Marketing Farmers. This program opens on August 24th, 2018
  • Contact Michele Rodgers, Michele.Rodgers@dhs.arkansas.gov


Common Questions

How do I know if I'm affected?

This shutdown only affects markets and farmers using MarketLink/Novo Dia equipment. If you are contracted with TSYS, MerchantSource, PaymentSpring or any other service provider, you will still be able to process transactions like normal.

There are a variety of ways to determine if you are a MarketLink customer. First, check the bills you receive in the mail. Do they say WorldPay on top? If so, you are a MarketLink/Novo Dia customer and you will be affected by this shutdown. You can also check your bank statements for deposits from WorldPay.

If you’re still unsure, please contact Emma Hansen at emma@farmersmarketcoalition.org.

I'm about to lose service. What do I do now?

There are several options for markets and farmers affected by this shutdown:

(1) Wait for further instruction from FNS. It is possible they develop a solution that allows markets and farmers to keep their current equipment. This option is risky and could result in a disruption in service.
(2) Move forward with purchasing your own equipment. If you choose this route, please take a look at the providers listed on our website. They all have experience working with farmers and farmers markets. Here is a link: http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/education/snap/ebt-equipment-services/. *Please note FMC is working on developing a price and service comparison chart to simplify this process.
(3) Utilizing state programs to cover the cost of new equipment. For information on your state program, see above.
(4) Mobilizing grassroots efforts/organizations to raise funds for new equipment.
(5) Using crowdfunding fundraising platforms to raise funds for new equipment.
(6) Reaching out to partners, including local banks the market has a relationship with to sponsor the market and new processing equipment. Read how one market is doing this.


Related Articles:

In search of solutions:

Baltimore officials looking for permanent solution for SNAP users at farmers markets (Baltimore Sun)

Regarding Shutdown deadline extension:

RADIO INTERVIEW: FMC discusses shutdown and deadline extension (Issues and Ideas)

After contract confusion, SNAP benefits back on at farmers markets (NPR)

Non-profit provides temporary fix to avoid shutdown of SNAP at farmers markets (Baltimore Sun)

Non-profit keep food-stamp recipients from losing farmers market benefits – at least for now (Washington Post)

Non-profit steps in as stop-gap to keep SNAP in farmers markets – for now (Modern Farmer)

Non-profit offers temporary fix to food stamp shutdown at farmers markets (Herald-Sun)

Farmers market payment program is shutting down (New York Post)

Regarding Shutdown:

Novo Dia Group to end service to farmers markets by July 31 (FMC)

New Information Regarding Novo Dia Group Shutdown (FMC)

Some food stamp recipients may soon lose access to farmers market benefits(Washington Post)

Thousands of people are about to lose ability to buy fresh food at farmers markets (Modern Farmer)

Wisconsin farmers markets could lose ability to process SNAP benefits (NPR)

Hundreds of farmers markets may stop accepting food stamps (Huffington Post)

Change puts food stamp purchases in jeopardy at some farmers markets (Herald-Sun)

The SNAP crisis at farmers markets across the county (The American Prospect)

RADIO INTERVIEW (Listen in at 11:45) FMC and Utahans Against Hunger discuss the impact of the NDG shutdown (Utah KRCL)