UNDATED -- A program to provide pregnant women and low-income parents nutritious foods is going electronic. The Women, Infants and Children program, also known as WIC is switching from paper vouchers to electronic cards.

The changeover will take some time, however. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the transition will take place over the next five years.

Stearns County Community Health Supervisor Mike Matanich says the new EBT cards will provide more flexibility for their clients.  For example, clients must now buy all of the milk provided to them for the disbursement period at once. Under the electronic cards, they can buy one gallon at a time, as needed.

Matanich says the cards will also allow clients to have real-time access to their account balances. He says it should also help guard against fraud or stolen benefits because they can electronically cancel them.

The state of Minnesota will have a statewide roll-out of the program in 2020.