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MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Department of Human Services says more Minnesota residents are taking advantage of a state assistance program to purchase produce at farmers markets.

The department says use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at farmers markets has tripled in recent years. There was nearly a 240 percent increase in dollars spent from 2011 to 2013.

The department says the gain is reflective of its effort to make the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at markets more convenient and cost effective.

The Market Bucks program matches Electronic Benefit Transfer cards with up to an additional $5 in bonus coupons each market day. Market Bucks can be used to purchase fruits, vegetables and other healthy products.

There are currently 65 markets in Minnesota that participate in the program.

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