NGA Member Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee

May 12, 2016

ARLINGTON, VA – Jimmy Wright, owner of Wright’s Market in Opelika, Alabama, today testified on behalf of the National Grocers Association (NGA) before the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee in a hearing titled “The Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The Retailer Perspective.” The hearing examined issues that retailers, both large and small, face while administering United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Wright, a single-store operator of a full service supermarket, advocated for a more streamlined and efficient SNAP license application process, especially for supermarkets that operate in a food desert, while also noting the important role independent grocers play in the SNAP program.

In written testimony, Wright stated, “I would encourage the USDA to consider having a different application process for applicants moving into a food desert in order to expedite that process. These business owners are working against many obstacles in order to open supermarkets in these underserviced areas. It is also important for the USDA to become more efficient in processing applications for supermarket owners in good standing with the program who are opening additional store locations. It seems inefficient to force those retailers who are in good standing to go through the same application process as those stores that are coming on the program for the first time.”

Wright also acknowledged that his supermarket works “to serve the SNAP customer with the same level of service and respect as we do anyone else.”

NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin said, “NGA is grateful to Jimmy for taking the time out of his busy schedule to testify on this important issue. For over three decades the nation’s independent supermarkets have served millions of low-income households, families with children, the elderly, and disabled through the SNAP food delivery system. I applaud the Committee for holding a hearing to review the SNAP program from the retailer perspective.”

This hearing is a part of a series of hearings held by the House Agriculture Committee to review the current SNAP program.

Click here to read Wright’s written testimony.