WVDA Awards $200,000 for SNAP Stretch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has awarded $200,000 for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Stretch benefits to the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. SNAP Stretch dollars allow recipients to double or triple their spending power at farmers’ markets and farm stands across West Virginia. For every dollar purchased with a SNAP/EBT card, the customer receives another dollar to spend on locally grown produce.

Funds for this year’s SNAP Stretch program were award under COVID relief dollars through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Monies awarded through HUD require certain demographic data to be reported. The WVDA worked with the Department of Economic Development and Senator Manchin’s office to find a way to fulfill that requirement.

“I thank Secretary Mitch Carmichael and Senator Manchin for working with the WVDA on making this program possible. We hit some roadblocks with implementation, but I am glad we can provide this extra benefit to our farmers and SNAP recipients,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

Commissioner Leonhardt worked with the Governor’s office, as well as the Food and Farm Coalition, to secure one-time monies of $100,000 in 2020 and an additional $200,000 for 2021. Commissioner Leonhardt and the WVDA requested the Legislature make SNAP Stretch a permanent line-item starting in the FY 2023 budget.

“We continue to see a significant return on every dollar invested in agriculture. From food security to a healthier citizenry to economic development, agriculture must and will play a role in West Virginia’s future. It is time for the Legislature to increase funding towards agricultural production,” Leonhardt said.

For more information or questions, contact Crescent Gallagher at 304-380-3922 or cgallagher@wvda.us.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.