SNAP/HIP Onboarding Process for Farmers

The DTA is accepting applications for new HIP retailers at this time. Deadline to apply is July 1.

Follow these instructions to apply for SNAP, HIP, and free processing equipment.

The information below gives an overview of the process; for more detailed information, see the link above.
Questions, contact Zoey.

Phase 1: Become a SNAP Authorized Retailer

  1. The SNAP retailer application may be completed online here. You will first register for an application account, then activate the account through clicking a link sent to your email. Once the account is activated, fill out the application questions online.
    • On the application, follow instructions as if you are a “store,” not a farmers’ market. You will later be given the option to select “Direct Marketing Farmer.”
    • Answer subsequent questions as though your farm is a “store”—fill in times your farm stand is open, days/times you sell at farmers’ markets, or have CSA pick-ups.
    • Complete the application to the best of your ability, and note any sections you leave blank due to questions. An FNS staff person will contact you to resolve any questions.
    • To have your application processed as quickly as possible, follow these instructions.
  2. Within ten days of completing the application questions online, you will need to upload the following documentation to your application account. To expedite your application, please also email the scans of additional requested documentation directly to Debbie Crosby at FNS. The documents required include:
    • A scan of picture ID for all principal business owners
    • A scan of Social Security card for all principal business owners, or another official document that lists name and Social Security Number (e.g. the top page of the past year’s tax return – you can black out your financial data)
    • A scan of the final page of the online application, with your signature
  3. Once your application is processed, you get a FNS number and are officially authorized to accept SNAP payments. Next, you need equipment so that you can swipe customers’ EBT cards and process SNAP transactions. Since you just got a new FNS number, you can get free or heavily subsidized equipment.
    • If you continue through the next steps and are accepted into the HIP program, you can apply for 100% free equipment throught the Massachusetts Food Security Grant Program. This is covered in phase 3.
    • If you stop here and just accept SNAP (or if you don’t get into the HIP program, you can still get heavily subsidized equipment through the MarketLink program.
      • All farms and farmers’ markets that just became authorized to accept SNAP qualify for this grant.
      • To apply, go to this link and click on “Get Started.”
      • This grant gets you: a free card reader, a free receipt printer, and covers one year of the license fee for TotilPay (TotilPay is the app you use to process SNAP transactions).
      • You will need your own smart device (iPad, tablet, iPhone, or smartphone) to download the TotilPay app onto. You will also be responsible for making sure your smart device is connected to a network. (Through a cell plan, a WiFi connection, or a mobile hotspot).

Phase 2: Apply to be a HIP vendor

Applying for HIP

The deadline to apply to be a HIP vendor is July 1. Applications will be scored on a number of equity-focused criteria.

You can submit your HIP application before your SNAP application is approved (before phase 1 is complete). In the HIP application, where it asks for an “FNS number,” simply use the seven digit FNS / confirmation number that gets generated when you submit your SNAP application. If you didn’t start phase 1 before this application, just put in seven zeros (“0000000”) into this box.

If you are accepted into HIP, you must have applied and been approved to accept SNAP by July 31. If you get accepted into HIP but think you may not hear back on phase 1 in time for July 31, reach out to Zoey and she will try to expedite your FNS application.

See here for the full notice of opportunity (which outlines the application and what the DTA is looking for) and to apply.
See this resource for how to write a competitive HIP application (second page).

Equipment

In the application, you will be asked what kind of devices/ equipment setup you would like: HIP-processing landline device, HIP-processing mobile device, or HIP CSA. Information on the two most common options here.

The type of operation you would like to have drives the kind of equipment you will use. Many farms fit into more than one of these categories. Contact Zoey to find out how to choose an option that makes the most sense for you and will maximize your sales potential.

CSA Farms

If you sell produce through a CSA, you may choose in the HIP CSA option in the HIP application. This goes through the state’s SNAP CSA Pilot program. With this option, SNAP/HIP customers to pay for their CSA share using an automatic monthly payment system. The CSA pilot option does not require the farm to have EBT equipment. You do not have to swipe the customers’ EBT card; it is touch-less.

Farm Stands

You have two options to choose from in the HIP application:

  1. HIP-processing landline device = Conduent (formerly Xerox) Direct Connect: These terminals require an analog (non-digital) telephone line and electricity at the point of sale. They cannot accept credit or debit transactions. More information here.
  2. HIP-processing mobile device = TotilPay Go (formerly Mobile Market+): Created by Novo Dia Group, TotilPay Select is the only mobile platform able to process both SNAP and HIP transactions. TotilPay also has the option to process credit and debit in addition to SNAP and HIP. This is the preferable option in most cases. More information here. (If interested in setting up credit/debit through this, reach out to Zoey or see here).

If you need a mobile device and your farm is only eligible for SNAP (not HIP), you can consider working with a third-party EBT processor other than TotilPay. (Although if you just got approved to accept SNAP, you are eligible for some free TotilPay equipment – see phase 1.) You can find other EBT-processing options on this list.

Farmers' Market Vendors

You should choose the HIP-processing mobile device in the HIP application. This “HIP processing mobile device” is TotilPay Go (formerly Mobile Market+).
This package is the only mobile platform able to process both SNAP and HIP transactions. You may choose an EBT-only TotilPay device, or an TotilPay device with the option to process credit and debit as well.

If you need a mobile device and your farm is only eligible for SNAP (not HIP), you can consider working with a third-party EBT processor other than TotilPay. (Although if you just got approved to accept SNAP, you are eligible for some free TotilPay equipment – see phase 1.) You can find other EBT-processing options on this list.

Phase 3: Apply for HIP processing equipment

If you get accepted into the HIP program, you will need equipment to process EBT cards. You need as many machines as the number of HIP access points you were awarded.

There is a Massachusetts grant that you can apply to to cover the full cost of the equipment.
After you hear back from the DTA that your HIP application was approved, follow these instructions to apply.

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