|DATE:||Dec. 7, 2021 (Updated Dec. 21, 2022)|
|SUBJECT:||WIC FMNP and SFMNP FY 2022 Guidance Package|
Special Nutrition Programs
|FMNP State Agency Directors|
SFMNP State Agency Directors
All State Agencies
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recognizes that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) play a critical role in our Nation's nutrition assistance safety net by providing participants the ability to purchase fresh, unprepared, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from local farmers and farmers' markets. In addition, these programs are invaluable in expanding the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers' markets in order to support local markets and domestic agriculture. We are committed to supporting the continuation and success of these important programs.
FNS also recognizes that the majority of WIC FMNP and SFMNP state agencies contract with technology services or banking entities to print, process, and show redemption for the programs' paper-based coupons. Many state agencies have reported that their contracts with these service providers will no longer be renewed and, without alternatives to these services, they will be unable to continue program operations. In light of these challenges, many state agencies must consider adopting new program models to continue services this fiscal year and beyond. This document sets forth the process for WIC FMNP and state agencies to such operational changes to their programs, and to seek program flexibilities, as applicable.
Each WIC FMNP and SFMNP state agency seeking to make changes to program operations must submit a state plan amendment to their respective FNS regional office for approval pursuant to 7 CFR 248.4(b) and 249.4(b), respectively. Appendix B and Appendix C detail specific state plan amendment submission instructions.
Further, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA PL 117-2) provides FNS with regulatory and statutory waiver authority to support flexibility and innovation in WIC FMNP. ARPA did not provide waiver authority for SFMNP. Thus, at this time, FNS can offer only WIC FMNP state agencies the opportunity to request waivers in order to test new and innovative models of operation.
The appendices referenced below provide resources that state agencies may use when considering next steps and set forth instructions for submitting state plan amendments that involve operational changes. State agency operational changes could include electronic solution (e-solution) proposals and/or WIC FMNP waiver requests. WIC FMNP and SFMNP state agencies are encouraged to consider both existing program models that do not require the use of technology services or banking entities (e.g., in-house processing) and program modernization opportunities (e.g., e-solutions).
Appendix A: State Agency Coupon Processing Resource List
This document provides a list of available coupon processing and e-solution resources based on input from the U.S. Digital Service, state agencies, program stakeholders, and landscape research. WIC FMNP and SFMNP state agencies in need of a new system for operating their programs are encouraged to review this document when considering potential paths forward.
Appendix B: State Plan Amendment Submission Instructions for Operational Changes
This document sets forth instructions for submitting a state plan amendment, which is required for all WIC FMNP and SFMNP state agencies wishing to pursue an alternative to their current model of operation. Submissions that propose implementing a new e-solution must include all minimum required elements, as described in Appendix B.
Appendix C: For WIC FMNP State Agencies Only - State Plan Amendment Submission Instructions for ARPA Waiver Requests
This document sets forth instructions for WIC FMNP state agencies wishing to request a statutory or regulatory waiver under ARPA authority. WIC FMNP state agencies submitting e-solution proposals in conjunction with ARPA waiver requests must also provide the information requested in Appendix B.
FNS will provide written approval or denial of a complete state plan amendment submission within 30 days of receipt, consistent with 7 CFR 248.4(a) and 249.4(a), as applicable. FNS reserves the right to request additional information if a submission is deemed incomplete, and as needed to ensure consistency with statutory authority and program regulations.
FNS stands ready to help evaluate and support state agencies' pursuit and implementation of the solutions they determine best meet their immediate and long-term needs to continue operations. State agencies should refer questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.
Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs