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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 21, 2018 03:58 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Adding Milk as an Eligible Product in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
As the dairy industry continues to struggle under a host of complex pressures, I plan to introduce a resolution urging the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help local dairy farmers, as well as senior citizens in need, by including fresh milk as an eligible product in its Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

A ready market exists for milk through this program, which provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods. These foods include nutritious, locally grown fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut herbs at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

In Pennsylvania, the SFMNP is administered by the state Department of Agriculture, with vouchers distributed through the county Area Agencies on Aging.

Low-income seniors are generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Established in 1993, the program gives recipients a list of participating farmers and farmers' markets when they receive their checks. These checks are redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Pennsylvania. Each eligible recipient receives four $5 SFMNP checks to redeem at a qualified farmers' markets or roadside stands. More than 1,150 FMNP participating farmers at 828 farm stands and 202 farmers' markets participate in Pennsylvania.

I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important resolution, which will help seniors in need, boost the domestic consumption of milk, and assist our dairy farmers.

Introduced as SR418