New York reached agreement with Novo Dia Group to continue SNAP
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the new contract that provides SNAP EBT equipment and services for farmers' markets to a company that does not support mobile, cellular-based transactions, denying hundreds of thousands of needy families the opportunity to purchase fresh, nutritious, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
With no replacement technology in place, and no foresight by the federal government to anticipate this situation, both farmers and SNAP beneficiaries would have suffered.
The Novo Dia Group, which worked with the USDA to develop the cellular mobile technology that enables farmers' markets to accept SNAP benefit cards for purchases, had indicated that they were no longer able to continue in business due to the lack of continued support from the USDA.
In addition, USDA failed to notify impacted states of this problem. Immediately after learning of this egregious oversight, New York State began to work with the Farmers Market Federation of NY and other impacted states to formulate a solution.
New York State's short-term agreement with Novo Dia will provide uninterrupted access for SNAP recipients to continue to make purchases at farmers' markets, while also benefiting our local farmers during their busiest season.
In light of the USDA's failure to act, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will continue to work on a more permanent solution.
This agreement also lays the groundwork for other states that rely on cellular-based transactions at farmers' markets to continue their services as well.
Novo Dia serves over 1,700 farmers' markets and farmers that accept SNAP nationwide.
Forty-nine states and Washington DC will benefit from New York's lead, despite the federal government's actions disrupting service to low-income individuals and families who rely on SNAP assistance. ■