Dear Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) Participating Farmers:
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and Seniors (FMNP) continues to be a valuable source of income for many farmers. During the previous 2013 market season, authorized FMNP farmers from Maryland and contiguous counties cashed a total of almost $400,000 in checks. To continue in the program, you must submit an application-agreement once every three years, and submit the locations where you will be selling for the market season each year.
Enclosed you will find the following documents:
- FMNP General Information
- 2014 FMNP Rules, List of eligible foods, key program dates, and procedures
- 2014 FMNP-FVC Application-Agreement
- 2014 FMNP Training Dates
- 2014 FMNP Market Location List
Updates for the 2014 season of the program include:
- The application for FMNP has been combined with the Fruit & Vegetable Check Program (FVC), so there is one application for both – you no longer need to submit applications to the two agencies that administer each program (MDA & DHMH respectively).
- We are no longer authorizing farmers markets – only farmers are going to be authorized so you may accept checks at any Maryland or DC farmers market where you sell.
- If you sell at farmers markets, then you may also accept checks at your on-farm stand. Checks may be accepted at farm stands only if you the Farmer sells at a farmers market, and you may only accept checks for produce that you have grown (no resale is allowed).
- Beginning in 2013 the program went to a 3 year authorized status.
- If you did take training in 2013, you are authorized to participate in the program for a 3-year period and are current until 2016. Therefore you do not need to fill out an application or attend a training this year, but you must submit the list of markets and farm stand(s) where you will sell in 2014.
- If you did not take training in 2013, you are required to participate in a training session this year, and you must submit the enclosed application. Once authorized you are eligible for 3 years. During interim years you must provide the locations where you will be accepting the FMNP checks in order to participate for that year.
USDA prescribes the rules and regulations of the program and USDA requires each state to monitor compliance with these rules. Throughout the market season, “secret shoppers” compliance buyers will visit selected farmers’ markets. In the past the most prevalent violation found in Maryland was the failure to display the farm name and FMNP signage. Please remember to display your farm name and the provided FMNP signs prominently on all market days as failure to do so can lead to sanctions and removal from the program.
A much more serious violation is the acceptance of FMNP checks for ineligible items. Also, exchanging FMNP checks from other vendors for cash is strictly prohibited. Serious violations, such as these, will result in the cancellation of your stamp number with our paying bank. Please take a few minutes to review the enclosed list of rules and keep it for your records.
To participate in the 2014 FMNP program, you must complete the two-page FMNP Farmer Application-Agreement and/or, depending on your status, the Market Location List, and mail it to me at the address listed below. Your paperwork must be postmarked by April 1, 2014.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to phone me at 410-841-5776, toll-free at 800-492-5590 or via e-mail at: Shelby.email@example.com
Agricultural Marketing Specialist
Maryland Department of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
Office - 410-841-5776
Cell - 240-304-8535
Email - Shelby.Watson@Maryland.Gov