DHS and MDA Statement on SNAP Access at Farmers Markets

On July 12, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified states that Novo Dia Group, creator of Mobile Market+ (MM+) for mobile point-of-sale SNAP acceptance, intends to phase out operations on July 31, 2018. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) are aware of thisssue and recognize its potential impact on farmers and SNAP recipients. The agencies have been coordinating to help those affected find alternative solutions.

The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) recently announced it will provide short-term funding to keep the Market Link program operating until August 30, 2018. Additionally, USDA indicated that it is working on viable alternatives in order to avoid interruption of the ability of farmers’ markets to accept SNAP in the coming weeks.

In the absence of certainty that there will be a timely resolution, we strongly encourage farmers’ markets to be proactive in making arrangements for alternative EBT processors. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on both MDA and DHS websites.

SNAP recipients should note that this does not impact their SNAP benefits.

SNAP recipients will continue to have access to purchasing food from any market that has the ability to process EBT payments. Local farmers’ markets that do not use the MM+ app to process payments are not impacted. We hope that all vendors using the app will identify an alternative EBT processor before August 30, 2018, when the MM+ app is effectively discontinued.

Not having the ability to process SNAP payments will have negative consequences for both individual farmers and SNAP recipients. While individual farmers not using Novo Dia will continue to be able to process payments made by EBT cards, there are many markets and farmers in Maryland that currently use the MM+ app on smart devices. These farmers represent a major economic output in the state. We also realize that many SNAP recipients would like to maintain their ability to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, and other nutritious foods from their local farms and farmers’ markets. In 2017 alone, more than 19,000 Marylanders spent $333,961 in federal nutrition benefits and Maryland Market Money matching dollars at Maryland farmers’ markets. Those purchases supported 237 agricultural producers at 24 farmers markets across our state.

To ensure continuity, we encourage farmers’ markets and vendors to purchase or rent EBT processors so they will have an alternative method of processing federal nutrition electronic benefits, including SNAP, once the 30-day extension ends. We have identified potential options for  farmers’ markets and farmers to explore, and a list of vendors for EBT processors, along with their contact information, was provided to farmers’ markets and farmers by MDA. Additionally, if markets do not have a place where they can plug in the machine, they may run manual vouchers.

Lourdes R. Padilla
Secretary, DHS

Joseph Bartenfelder
Secretary, MDA

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