COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS

Healthy Incentives Program: For Farmers

Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette

On this page you’ll find information for farmers who are enrolled or interested in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). Only farms based in Massachusetts and accepting SNAP can participate in HIP.

HIP is a 100% SNAP-matching program that benefits both SNAP participants and local Massachusetts farmers by making locally-grown food more affordable. This program has brought new customers and increased sales to farm stands, mobile markets, CSAs, and farmers’ markets across Massachusetts – to the tune of $4+ million through the first year of the program. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. HIP currently runs throughout the full year, and over 200 locations in Massachusetts participate in the program.

How HIP Works

  • Fruit & vegetable farmers process SNAP and HIP transactions at farm stands and farmers’ markets. Customers can make CSA payments using a monthly automated withdrawal system.
  • HIP dollars instantly reload to the SNAP recipient’s EBT card, available immediately for any future SNAP-eligible purchase. Customers can earn up to a monthly cap based on household size.
  • SNAP customers are encouraged to spend their HIP benefits at the farms and farmers’ markets where they earn them.
  • HIP payments to farmers are made directly within 1-2 business days.

Why HIP?

  • HIP helps to bring fresh, healthy, locally-grown food to those who may otherwise have trouble accessing it.
  • This program is an important investment in sustaining and growing small-scale, local farms in Massachusetts.
  • Small farms can gain new, diverse customers who engage in HIP.
  • HIP improves health outcomes for individuals by helping them build a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables.

How to Participate in HIP

The State of Massachusetts is currently not enrolling new farms or food businesses in HIP. However, you can take several steps to prepare for the next application round.

  • HIP farms must be based in Massachusetts.
  • All HIP farms must also be authorized to accept SNAP. Learn more about how your farm can accept SNAP here. Find more resources and tips on incorporating SNAP at your farm from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
  • Find which farms in Massachusetts are currently participating in HIP here.
  • Contact DTA.HIP@mass.gov to to be notified of future opportunities to join the program.

Common HIP Retailer Questions

  • If I enter a “Purchase Amount” under SNAP and a “HIP Amount” on the next screen, am I charging the person twice? No – in fact, every SNAP or HIP purchase made with your device should include both a SNAP amount and a HIP amount. The HIP amount is a subset of the SNAP amount, and shows how much of the SNAP purchase made is eligible for the HIP incentive rebate—this means that the amount entered as the “Purchase Amount” should be the entire price of the transaction, including the amount that is HIP eligible. Please remember to enter the HIP-eligible amount for every SNAP purchase, even if the amount is $0.
  • Can I give a customer a refund on a HIP purchase? No (unless you have not made any other transactions with the device since the purchase; in this case you can “void last transaction.”) What you can do is offer an equal exchange of other HIP-eligible fruits and vegetables.
  • Are plant starts and seeds eligible for SNAP and HIP? If they are plants and seeds for fruits and vegetables, then yes!
  • I’m on the wait list for TotilPay equipment. How long will it take to get my device? Email ebt@farmersmarketcoalition.org to request a status update and to ensure that you have completed all steps necessary.
  • Can I have more than one HIP terminal? DTA must approve each individual EBT/HIP terminal your business obtains. Contact David Webber via email or by phone with questions: 617-626-1754.

Additional Resources:

DTA instructional videos on (1) how to use desktop DTAFinder, (2) how to use mobile DTAFinder, (3) how to talk about HIP with customers, and (4) cómo utilizar la versión móvil de DTAFinder, ¡en español!

Mass.gov: HIP for Farmers and Farm Vendors: information about getting started with SNAP and HIP enrollment, how to obtain SNAP equipment, and how to use SNAP equipment for HIP transactions.

Mass.gov: SNAP and HIP at Farmers Markets and Farms: More details and instructions on applying and becoming a SNAP retailer.

Apply to become a SNAP retailer via USDA.

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