WVDA Announces Return of Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) vouchers will be available starting Tuesday, August 2. Vouchers are delivered to county senior citizens centers where they are distributed to eligible seniors. To qualify for the vouchers, you must be over the age of 60 and meet certain financial requirements.  

“The issues we have experienced in West Virginia are similar to what other programs are facing around the country. For the WVDA, it has been a struggle to find banking partners to handle the redemption and printing of the vouchers, but I am proud of our staff for working through these challenges to ensure the program continues,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We are already working towards a solution for next year.”  

The 2021 SFMNP program was delayed due to a lack of a banking contract. Facing a similar issue for 2022, as well as supply chain issues, the WVDA worked with federal partners to secure a contract and ensure the program’s success.  

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers will be distributed to all 55 counties in West Virginia by the WVDA to county senior centers through the United States Department of Agriculture’s program. Vouchers can be exchanged for fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from participating farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs.  

“SFMNP is important to the health of our at-risk senior citizens, as well as the farmers who provide the produce. This program is part of our plan to grow our local food systems and build resiliency within them,” Leonhardt said.  

In 2021, the WVDA and its partners distributed a total of 14,912 vouchers to seniors in West Virginia. A total of 314 farmers participated in the program by accepting the vouchers. In addition, some seniors received a 5lb. bag of apples.    For more information, contact Crescent Gallagher cgallagher@wvda.us or 304-558-3708.