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October 7th, 2009:

Vilsack in the News Again

This time for being the force behind a program to provide the equipment for farmers markets to accept food stamps, something that everyone should agree is a good thing. People have access to cheaper*, healthier food, farmers take home more money themselves. This comes on top of the increases in the money provided for the food stamps program (which was both long overdue and, along with increasing unemployment benefits, has been shown as one of the most efficient ways to stimulate the economy) as well as experiments at some farmers markets to redeem food stamps at twice face value. Keeping in mind actual stamps were replaced by EBT cards years ago.

Up until now the problem has been that the “food stamps” program switched to an electronic swipe card system some years ago which require a swipe reader. No problem at a grocery store where a single checkout lane can easily do five-figures of sales in a single day, but purchasing the readers (which also require internet access to function) is a major finacial burden for individual farmers, who, if they’re doing well, are making one or two thousand dollars one day each week at farmers markets. (more…)

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