Department of Agriculture announces return of Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is pleased to announce the return of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). SMFNP was delayed earlier this year due to a lack of a banking contract. With the contract now in place, vouchers will be delivered to participating partners and be available to senior citizens starting August 1. The WVDA is working to avoid this issue for the 2022 season.

“What we saw in West Virginia is not unique to our state. Many other programs around the country are struggling to find banking partners to handle redemption of the vouchers. The USDA is aware of the issue and is working through how to adjust the federal program so states can continue serving our senior citizens,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers will be distributed to all 55 counties in West Virginia by the WVDA through the United States Department of Agriculture’s program. Vouchers can be exchanged for fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from participating farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs. Eligible seniors who are over the age of 60 and meet certain financial requirements can sign up through their local senior centers.

“We are extremely proud of the staff who made this program possible despite the banking issue we had to confront. SFMNP is important to the health of our at-risk senior citizens, as well as the farmers who provide the produce,” Leonhardt said.

In 2020, the WVDA and its partners distributed a total of 16,800 vouchers to seniors in West Virginia. A total of 349 farmers, 101 farm stands and one farmers market participated in the program by accepting the vouchers.

For more information, contact Crescent Gallagher cgallagher@wvda.us 304-558-3708.

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