Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

(1) To provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors, and (2) to increase the consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding, developing, or aiding in the
development and expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Program Accomplishments

In FY 06, base grant levels to State agencies totaled $16.2 million. Unspent funds from FY 2006 were reallocated on a proportionate basis to participating SFMNP grantees in the spring of 2007. In FY 2007, 46 State agencies and federally recognized Indian tribal governments operated the SFMNP. In FY 06, 825,691 seniors were served by the SFMNP by 14,574 farmers at 2,911 markets, 2,323 roadside stands, and 260 community supported agriculture programs. In December2006, FNS published a final rule for the SFMNP, which would make the program a permanent nutrition assistance.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants are made to State departments such as health, agriculture and aging, United States territories and Federally-recognized Indian tribal governments, or any other agency approved by the chief executive officer of the State.

Grant funds may be used only to support the costs of the foods that are provided under the SFMNP; no administrative funding is available.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

All States, United States territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments are eligible to apply for a grant.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Persons eligible for the program are low-income seniors, generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines (published each year by the Department of Health and Human). Some State agencies accept proof of participation or enrollment in another means-tested program, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program or Food Stamps, for SFMNP eligibility.


In addition to submitting an application based on the requirements of the grant solicitation, potential grantees must submit a standard SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance, form. In addition, potential grantees must submit forms in which they agree to comply with USDA regulations and Office of Management and Budget circulars, including: Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments, Government-wide Debarment and Suspension; Government-wide Requirements for Drug-free Workplace; and, New Restrictions on Lobbying.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Each State applying for a SFMNP grant must designate a lead State agency.

Each State may only submit one application on behalf of all interested State agencies, local governments, and non-profit organizations in the State.

However, the lead State agency may make subgrants to other State agencies, Indian tribal governments, local governments, and non-profit organizations.

Also, Indian tribal governments may make subgrants to local governments and non-profit organizations in the areas they serve.

Interested agencies are encouraged to contact the Governor's office or Indian tribal governments to work together on an application.

If multiple applications are received from more than one agency within the same State, FNS reserves the right to contact the Governor's office in that State for a final designation of the lead State agency.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Under the competitive grant process, FNS announces the opportunity for States, including territories and Federally recognized Indian tribal governments, to submit grant applications for the SFMNP for each fiscal year in which funds are available. All applications are due by a specified date to FNS Headquarters.

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed and evaluated by a panel of FNS staff to determine the technical merit of each grant application. Two separate panels evaluate applications; one panel reviews applications from current State agencies that are seeking expansion funds and another panel reviews applications from new State agencies. In the event that all available SFMNP funds for a given year are needed to provide base grants to currently participating State agencies, applications for program expansion or new programs will not be solicited by FNS. If the available funds are insufficient to meet the base grant levels for current SFMNP grantees, a pro-rata reduction will be applied to the grant levels awarded to all participating SFMNP State agencies. If additional funds become available for the SFMNP, such funds would first be distributed evenly among the current grantees to make whole their base grants for that fiscal year. Grant payments are made by a letter of credit.


A deadline for the submission of grant applications is set forth in the announcement by FNS. In general, applications are due approximately 60 days after the announcement to request grant applications.


Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-171, 116 Stat. 334; Section 4402, 7 U.S.C. 3007.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

In general, FNS will announce SFMNP awards, and notify each State agency that did not receive an award, approximately 60 days after the date applications are due to FNS.


All decisions by the FNS selecting officials are final. However, unsuccessful applicants are offered a debriefing to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their proposals.


Current State agencies are required to submit updated information annually.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

SFMNP grant funds are provided only to support the costs of the foods that are provided under the SFMNP; no administrative funding is provided.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

SFMNP funds are provided using Federal Reserve Bank letters of credit, for a program period that begins when the grant agreement is signed by FNS and ends on November 30 of each year.

Post Assistance Requirements


Grantees are required to submit two financial status reports and two progress reports to FNS.

The progress reports must indicate the number of outlets authorized to receive coupons (i.e., farmers, farmers markets, roadside stands and/or community supported agriculture programs) by category and the number of recipients who have been issued coupons.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," State governments that expend Federal financial assistance of $500,000 or more within any fiscal year shall have either a single audit or (in certain cases) a program specific audit made for that year. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in A-133.


State agencies must maintain records as necessary to support the SFMNP funds. Such records must be retained for a period of 3 years after the date of submission of the final report for the fiscal year to which the records pertain, except that if audit findings have not been resolved, the records shall be retained beyond the three year period as long as required for the resolution of the issues raised by the audit.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $16,203,484; FY 08 est $16,200,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance


Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 3016, 7 CFR Part 3017, 7 CFR Part 3018.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Supplemental Food Program Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Dr. Room 540, Alexandria, VA 22302. Contact: Debra R. Whitford, Branch Chief. Telephone (703) 305-2746.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals


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