Byline: Morgan Taylor/Multimedia Producer
BEGGS, Oklahoma – The Looped Square Meat Processing Co. is now a retail participant of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and will accept Electronic Benefits Transfers.
EBT is an electronic system that allows a SNAP participant to pay for food using a benefits transfer card called the ACCESS card. When participants shop at a SNAP-authorized retail store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to the card and reimbursed to the store for food purchased.
Final approval was given to the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Director Trent Kissee during the early afternoon of Friday, Nov. 4.
Kissee said the process was long, taking up to several months, even being denied once before receiving final approval. The significant difference is the relationship shared between the state and federal government and the government-to-government relationship between tribal and national.
Located centrally in between two major Walmart Super Centers makes it a convenient stop for those in the meat market, especially during meat shortages like what was experienced during the pandemic with shelves at local department stores bare.
Kissee claims that almost everything in the retail space can be purchased using the SNAP/EBT benefits. The only thing that may be prohibited is hot foods that are made on occasion.
“It’s another way for us to serve,” Kissee said. “We have traditional, fresh, and healthy options.”
Consistency and quality are the mission of the plant operation while remaining competitive.
“People come in and expect us to be more expensive, and that’s just not the case,” Kissee said. “That’s something we pride ourselves in.”
From the jump, the initial goal was to implement the program at the plant,” Kissee said. “Most people desire to feed our families the best option.”
He encourages customers to ask questions when they visit the retail store.
“There are affordable ways to stretch your benefits,” Kissee said.
The USDA calls meat a staple food, making itself a category of four with fruits and vegetables, dairy, bread/cereals, meat, fish, and poultry. Other staple food characteristics are determined by the food that makes up a portion of a person’s diet and is considered part of homemade meals.
According to the OK SNAP official website, www.benefits.gov, more than 600,000 Oklahomans receive SNAP monthly averaging $811,995,101 redeemed by participants yearly.
“The state typically administers the program,” Kissee said. “This will bring back those state tax dollars to the reservation.”
Kissee projects that sales will increase by a third in the first year.