SNAP Brings Economic Impact to Farmers at Farmers Market

SNAP Brings Economic Impact to Farmers at Farmers Market

M. Maddox, UF/IFAS Extension, Sumter County, Bushnell, FL and J. S. Strickland, UF/IFAS Extension, Hernando/Sumter County, Brooksville, FL
SITUATION:  Twelve percent of Sumter County’s population is below the poverty level. The average household received $274.98 in Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) monthly benefits. Twenty seven local produce farmers sell fruits and vegetables at the Sumter County Farmers Market.  OBJECTIVE:   By implementing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) terminals at the Sumter County Farmers Markets, EBT transactions will increase revenue to local produce vendors by $2,500.00.  Each year, the revenue associated with EBT will increase by 50%.    METHOD:  On September 8, 2014 the Sumter County Farmers Market began accepting SNAP/ Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.  Creating marketing tools to market the program has been key.  Creative works created to promote and advertise include:  what you can buy using SNAP/EBT, marketing signs, news columns, two power-points, vendor signs, 5 other promotional pieces and promoting/marketing program during programs with senior center, Head Start and Family and Children Service groups.  RESULTS:  The economic impact over a three month period (2014) was $1,100 and in one year (2015) was $2,995 with SNAP/EBT sales to 40 families.  This is a 172% increase in revenue from 2014 to 2015.  In addition to increasing revenue to local farmers, 40 families benefited from having fresh produce and healthy food choices.  The farmers market benefited by having a new clientele base that was previously uncaptured.  CONCLUSION: This program has brought a previously untapped customer base to the market, increased sales, kept dollars within the community, and provided consumer education while providing families with fresh/local fruits and vegetables. Since the launch three other local farmers have been interested in applying and making application for SNAP/EBT at their location.

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