News...
July 15, 2010

Electronic Payment Options Available at SD Farmers Markets

PIERRE, S.D. – Paying cash for food isn’t always convenient. That’s why farmers markets in South Dakota now give customers the option of using credit, debit or electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to pay for their local food purchases. 

Electronic payments, instead of cash or checks, are a convenience for customers and allow them to add locally grown fruits and vegetables to meals.

“Local food outlets are growing in interest across the state,” said Jon Farris, South Dakota’s Acting Secretary of Agriculture. “By giving customers additional payment options, farmers markets are positioning themselves to grow their customer base.”

Last year, the Vermillion Area Farmers Market became South Dakota’s first local food outlet to use a wireless point-of-sale (POS) device that accepts credit or debit cards, as well as EBT cards carried by those receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. 

“For SNAP recipients on a smaller cash food budget, the electronic payment option allows them to make larger purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Rebecca Terk, board president for the Vermillion Area Farmers Market.

"Having easy access to fresh, South Dakota-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets is a wonderful opportunity for SNAP recipients to have healthier choices when it comes to purchasing food for their families," said Deb Bowman, Secretary of the Department of Social Services, which administers SNAP.  "We really appreciate South Dakota producers who recognize the importance for citizens with limited incomes to be able to shop at farmers markets.  It is a step in the right direction for a healthier South Dakota." 

Authorized SNAP retailers may purchase wireless POS devices or use manual vouchers for SNAP purchases.  The vouchers are authorized at the time of sale and later cleared using a state-supplied POS device.  For more information on how to become an authorized SNAP retailer or to fill out an application online, go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/. Questions about how to offer electronic payments at local farmers markets may also be directed to South Dakota EBT Administrator Sandy Vanneman at 605-773-6527.

South Dakota has nearly three dozen farmers markets.  Specific locations and contact information are available at www.dakotaflavor.com. Communities interested in forming farmers markets can contact Bob Weyrich at 605-773-5436.

Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating more than $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 173,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve the industry for today and tomorrow.  Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov/.