The National Grocers Association (NGA) has expressed its approval of the House Agriculture Committee’s markup of the 2018 Farm Bill, which included key policy provisions to preserve and bolster the public-private partnership between retailers and the federal government in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The legislation, about which many in the grocery industry had raised concerns regarding possible changes to the nutrition assistance program, now extends the temporary prohibition of processing fees on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) transactions, bolsters the protection of highly sensitive store-level SNAP redemption data, and expands healthy-eating incentive programs, including the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program.
“Independent supermarket operators across the nation are committed to working collaboratively with USDA, Congress and industry partners to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the SNAP food delivery system,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based NGA, adding that the organization “and its members appreciate the House Agriculture Committee’s recognition of the important role supermarkets play in the successful public-private partnership within the program. We are pleased to see it contains many of the provisions the independent supermarket industry has advocated for, but urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill that reflects bipartisan consensus.”
“We are grateful that Chairman [Mike] Conaway [R-Tex.] and the House Agriculture Committee included many of our key provisions within the 2018 Farm Bill,” added Greg Ferrara, NGA’s EVP of advocacy, public relations and member services. “As the bill continues to advance in the House, NGA will be working with lawmakers to ensure that any proposals to limit consumer choice in the marketplace and put new administrative burdens and fees onto retailers are defeated.”