Iowa seeks payment plan options at farmers markets

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is scrambling to develop a plan for spending federal money to expand payment options at its 200 farmers markets. An appropriations bill provides $4 million in funding to increase farmers markets participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Iowa is to receive about $161,000. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says the money has to be obligated by Sept. 30. The funds are to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale equipment in farmers markets not currently participating in SNAP. Tracy Penick of the Iowa Department of Human Services says the challenge is that vendors use individual devices to run SNAP cards, while the funding is designed to go to farmers markets as a whole.