Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/
Merchant Services


Farmers' Markets are increasingly offering electronic transaction services on site.  These electronic card services allow shoppers to use their debit, credit, and/or food stamp (SNAP) electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to make market purchases. Every farmers' market has different needs, clients, and vendors. In order to assist you in choosing whether or not to accept SNAP/food stamps at your market, we have provided information as a guide in helping with your decision. Improving the access to healthy food for lower-income customers and increasing revenue for farmers is one of the many benefits of this program.

What is EBT?

Every state in the nation have replaced paper food stamp coupons with a federally mandated Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. Food stamp recipients now use this electronic “debit” card system instead of the old-style “paper coupons” to purchase food.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps to put food on the table for millions of people through the US. It provides low-income households with electronic benefits that they can use like cash at most grocery stores and participating farmers' markets. SNAP is the cornerstone of the Federal food assistance programs, and provides crucial support to needy households.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers SNAP at the Federal level through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). State agencies administer the program at State and local levels, including determination of eligibility and allotments, and distribution of benefit

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What options are there for supporting SNAP at Farmers' Markets?

An individual farm stand, farm business or farmer can apply to the USDA Food Nutrition Service (FNS) to be certified as a SNAP dealer at a farm stand, or farmers' market; or a farmers' market can apply as the 'retailer' and provide alternative currency (scrip or tokens) for use by SNAP customers at any approved vendor stall at the market.  This is the first step – becoming approved as a “merchant” through the USDA/FNS office


To learn more, click on a topic below:

This information is provided by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council through the USDA Farmers Market Promotion and Program Grant and in coordination with Suzanne Briggs.
For more information contact Katrina Van Dis