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SNAP Onboarding Process for Farmers and Farmers’ Markets

Looking to accept SNAP/EBT at your farm or farmers’ market? Follow the steps below. Questions, contact Zoey.

Note: At this time, the DTA is not accepting applications for new HIP (Healthy Incentive Program) retailers. You can still apply to accept SNAP.

Step 1: Become a registered to accept SNAP/EBT

  1. Register with the USDA to accept SNAP/EBT by following the instructions here.
    • On step 1 at this link, there are three options to choose from when making an account. Select the “customer” option when setting up an account.
    • On step 2 at this link (“Complete online application”):
      • If you are a FARM (including a farm that sells at a farmers’ market):
        • Follow instructions as if you are a “Store,” not a farmers’ market.
        • When in the application of step 2, at the bottom of the “Basic Information” page, there is a question along the lines of “Are you a farm, nonprofit buying cooperative, mobile market, etc….” Select “yes,” and then in the drop-down menu that appears, 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
      • If you are a FARMERS’ MARKET (you are a market manager applying to accept SNAP at the farmers’ market manager booth), follow instructions for a “Farmers’ Market.”
    • 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.
  2. Within ten days of completing the application questions online, you will need to upload the following documentation to your application account.The documents required vary from businesse type to business type, but often 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 Food Nutrition Service number (FNS number) and are officially authorized to accept SNAP payments.

If you have questions for the USDA, contact the SNAP Retailer Service Center.

  • If you are a FARMER, call 312-353-6609 and leave a message; someone should get back to you within two days. Or, email SM.FN.ROB-WC1RetReply@usda.gov.
  • If you are a FARMERS’ MARKET, call 1-877-823-4369 or email farmersmarket@fns.usda.gov.

    Please note that it can take several days to hear back.

Step 2: Get equipment to process SNAP payments

Now that you are authorized to accept SNAP, you need to get the equipment to swipe people’s EBT cards.

Choose the type of equipment you want: landline or mobile

There are many equipment options out there; this page covers two of your options that are free or subsidized through government programs.
The two options are: mobile equipment or landline equipment.

The landline equipment is free, but can only operate in one fixed location. The mobile equipment does cost some money; however, it is partially subsidized through a federal grant program, can be used in multiple locations, and can be integrated with other point-of-sale systems more easily (Square and WorldPay are credit card processing companies that you can integrate with the mobile processing option.)

Landline equipment

Farms and farmers’ markets are eligible to receive free landline EBT processing equipment. Once authorized for SNAP, your business will be contacted by Conduent (the licensed EBT vendor for Massachusetts). Conduent will offer you the option to obtain a landline EBT-only terminal. If you accept, the company will send you a Retailer Agreement and W-9 form to be completed and returned along with a cancelled check. To contact Conduent directly, call (866) 981-7897 or visit their retailer website here.

Mobile equipment

Since you just got an FNS number, are a direct-marketing farm, and don’t yet have any equipment that can process SNAP payments, you qualify for a federal grant program (called MarketLink) that covers the cost of (most) of the equipment you need.

MarketLink covers the cost of the card reader and one year of the license fee for the app (TotilPay Go) used to process SNAP payments. The grant program does not cover a smart device that you download the app onto (iPad, iPhone, or Android device) nor the cell service plan you need to connect to the network and run SNAP transactions.

Getting your equipment:

  1. Apply for the MarketLink grant program here. The MarketLink staff and the Novo Dia Group staff will follow up with you; follow their instructions to get everything up and running. (Novo Dia Group is the company that runs TotilPay Go, the app software that processes SNAP transactions.)
  2. You will need your own smart device to download the app onto; either an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet.
  3. You will also need some way to connect your chosen device to a network; either a cell service plan, WiFi connection, or mobile hot spot. Contact Zoey if you have questions, or to talk through the best options for you.
  4. Each year, you will have to renew your TotilPay Go license. It is an annual fee of $191.40.

Questions? Contact Zoey at zoey@buylocalfood.org.

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