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Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, DVM, encourages senior citizens 60 years old and older who meet certain income requirements to contact their parish Council on Aging to participate in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

All participants must be at least 60 years old and have a household income of not more than 185% of the poverty level. For one person in the household, the annual household income level would be $22,311or less and for two persons in the household, the annual household income level would be $30,044 or less. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the 2017 program allowing senior citizens to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey at farmers markets and roadside stands.

Through the grant, those who qualify will receive a book of five $4-coupons ($20). The SFMNP coupons may only be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey approved by the Louisiana Farmers Market Nutrition Program from farmers at approved farmers markets and roadside stands (or farm stands). Farmers cannot give change for coupons; therefore, each purchase must be at least $4. Coupons are not permitted for grocery stores or non-participating farmers. Only farmers that have signed “Farmer Participation Agreements” with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry may accept the coupons. Current issue coupons will expire November 30, 2017. Seniors who receive coupons also will receive a directory, listing participating farmers markets and roadside stands where the coupons may be spent.

Seniors who received coupons in 2016 will not automatically receive a new booklet. Seniors who qualify for the coupons must go to their local parish Council on Aging to re-apply for the program. 

Seniors who receive commodities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Food for Seniors Program; those who have a Letter of Eligibility for the Louisiana Purchase Card (SNAP); those who have a Letter of Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or those who receive Medicaid are pre-qualified for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program because the income level to qualify for those programs is less than for this program. Those who pre-qualify still need to complete an application for the farmers market coupons in order to participate.

For more information about the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, call 985-345-9483.

WIC Farmers Market Nutritional Program

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the 2015 WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) allowing recipients to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and cut herbs from farmers at approved farmers markets and roadside stands.  Women, infants (over 4 months old) and children that have been certified to receive WIC program benefits are eligible to participate in the WIC FMNP.  Currently, this program is only available in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita and Plaquemines Parishes at certain WIC clinics.

Through the grant, those who qualify will receive a book of six $4-coupons ($24).  Farmers cannot give change for coupons; therefore, each purchase must be at least $4. Coupons are not permitted for grocery stores or non-participating farmers. Only farmers that have signed “Farmer Participation Agreements” with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry may accept the coupons. Current issue coupons will expire November 30, 2015. Recipients who receive coupons also will receive a directory, listing participating farmers markets and roadside stands where the coupons may be spent.

Participants who received coupons in 2015 will not automatically receive a new booklet.  Recipients who qualify for the coupons must go to their local WIC clinic to re-apply for the program.

For more information about the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, call 985-345-9483.

SNAP Benefits

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are also accepted at the Natchitoches Farmers Market. SNAP benefits, formally known as the Federal Food Stamp Program, may be used to purchase eligible food items such as bread products, seeds, and plants which produce food to eat, and cold prepared foods not intended for immediate consumption.  SNAP benefits are not accepted for flowers, non-edible plants, hot foods, or any other non-food product; items that contain alcohol or tobacco; non-consumables such as paper products or pet food; foods sold at the point of sale; vitamins and supplements; and ornamentals (pumpkins, gourds, or corn).