In December, President Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill. The compromise bill passed the House of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The Farm Bill is especially relevant to the c-store industry because it reauthorizes SNAP.
The legislation was significant for convenience store retailers that participate in SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) because it places a ban on processing fees on all Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transactions through 2023. The legislation also reiterates the ban on interchange fees on these transactions.
The Farm Bill is especially relevant to our industry because it reauthorizes SNAP. More than 119,000 convenience stores accept SNAP benefits as they serve the communities in which they operate. During the Farm Bill process, NACS advocated for the critical role convenience stores play in providing access to food for SNAP beneficiaries.
EBT allows a SNAP recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received. EBT is used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
NACS strongly advocated for a ban on processing fees on EBT transactions. As retailers have seen on the commercial side, these fees escalate over time and negatively impact the price of goods. NACS, along with other retail trade associations, spent the past two years educating lawmakers on this issue and the need for a permanent ban on fees. NACS will continue to advocate for a permanent ban on processing fees in the next Farm Bill, which will be up in 2022.