EBT and Fresh Zucchini: A Farmers Market Story

EBT and Fresh Zucchini: A Farmers Market Story

Oct 19, 2017 | 3-minute read

We’re always coming up with brand-new ideas, but sometimes innovation is about using existing solutions in different ways. When PaymentSpring’s Jason Butts set up credit card payments for a produce stand at an auction, he had no idea what he was in for.

When an auctioneer wanted to enable her friend, a local farmer, to take payments for produce at auctions, she went to Jason for help.

Later, while attending a farmers market in Iowa, that farmer shared her find with the state EBT director—and a statewide program was born.  

EBT is electronic benefit transfer. It’s a government program that allows recipients to transfer benefits from a federal account to a retailer account via a payment card when purchasing food items through the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Through the Farmers Market EBT SNAP program, the USDA helps families in need access good-quality produce. 

A USDA rep invited Jason to a national EBT program meeting, where he met some Visa® representatives who were starting the farmers market EBT program. They invited him to California to get set up, which led Jason to attend more and more EBT conferences.

“It just blew up from there,” Jason said. “We weren’t the only program that had the ability to do this, but we had one of the only nationally known programs.”

Since joining PaymentSpring, Jason has worked with the Farmers Market Coalition, an organization that receives grants from the USDA as part of the farm bill and distributes them to farmers across the country.

A farmer interested in participating applies through the coalition for grant money. If approved, the farmer works with PaymentSpring, and we set up their payment processing account and provide the equipment needed to accept credit card and EBT payments through a terminal with wireless and cellular capabilities. The coalition pays 100 percent of the merchant account and EBT fees for three years through the farm bill grant.

While Jason could never have predicted the success of the program, it’s been incredibly rewarding.

“Farmers are great. They are all family owned businesses, and I grew up in a home like that,” Jason said. “We’re trying to do a lot of good things for a lot of people in need.”

While most of what we do at PaymentSpring is focused on online software integration, Jason’s experience is a great reminder that in-person payments will never go out of style.

“I’ve been going to farmers markets for years; I buy from them whenever I can,” Jason said. “Ten years ago, they were all cash-based businesses. Now, nearly every market offers the convenience of debit and credit card payments. And now, EBT cards too.”

You never know when the next innovation in payments will pop up, but you can be sure that PaymentSpring will be up-to-date on it (or leading the charge). Whether you need a basic point-of-sale terminal or a mobile or online integration solution, our team and tech are up to the challenge. Give us a call at 844.348.5702 to talk to Jason or another one of our creative representatives.

dig into gateway’s wholesome goodness