On Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway (R-TX) introduced the long-awaited Farm Bill that includes reauthorization of SNAP. FMI has worked with the committee over the past several months on retailer provisions in the bill. FMI successfully got language included in the base bill that would prohibit state contractors from charging retailers any processing fees. This would create a permanent fix to the temporary one included in the recently passed omnibus. In addition to the fees language, FMI was able to get retailer store-level redemption data privacy provisions also included in the bill. The privacy protections are included in the requirement for the USDA Secretary to gather SNAP sales data and provide a bi-annual aggregated report to Congress on what is being purchased with benefits.
The bill includes several other retailer-focused provisions that FMI is reviewing and sharing feedback with the committee. The bill reauthorizes the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program as well as creates a voluntary retailer-driven and funded incentives pilot. Other bill provisions include modernizing EBT and creating demonstration projects using mobile payments technology. The bill also authorizes the creating of a “national gateway” that all EBT transactions would be required to funnel through. The bill directs the Secretary to set up a gateway following a feasibility study.
Courtesy of Food Marketing Institute