What is WIC?

Overview of WIC Program
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Agriculture cooperate to sponsor the Maine WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Using federal funding, these special WIC checks are given to folks who already qualify for the regular WIC checks (redeemable in stores for certain products.)  The Farmers’ Market WIC Checks are usually issued to recipients May through August as they come in for their regular WIC checks.

Farmer’s Market WIC Checks are spendable only at farmers’ markets and farm stands and can be used only for fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and herbs. They come in denominations of $5 and, like a personal check, they get signed by the user when the purchase is made. The farmer then deposits them like a regular check after stamping them with a unique number issued to each farmer by the WIC program.

WIC Farmer Application

Note: This program is a very good program that has the potential of putting a few more dollars into your bank account. The training you get will document what fresh fruits and vegetables you can sell to a WIC recipient. Fresh fruits and veggies is all you can sell to a WIC customer with a few exceptions.

The Voucher is like a check. You need to check the date on the voucher to make sure it is still good. Make sure they sign it in the correct spot. Be very careful when you stamp the voucher to make sure the stamp is readable. I have had a few problems between the bank and the State about being able to read the stamp (after it is scanned by the bank) but the WIC office has covered all bank fees and reimbursables in those few cases. Do not be afraid to contact the WIC main office in Augusta to complain by phone or e-mail if you have an issue. They want to make this program work. Check out the Reimbursement Policy document.

Any Maine Farmer/owner may apply for WIC authorization. Find the application and see details about the process here.

There is no charge for application or re-authorization. WIC-authorized farmers must meet requirements to be a WIC authorized. Farmers must apply for re-authorization every three years.

Maine WIC provides training for farmers/owners and staff in working with WIC recipients and handling WIC checks. WIC Farmer training is required once every three years. Request training here.

Application Process

The Vendor applicant is required to submit a completed application to the State Agency. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of missing, incomplete or unsigned documents. Those applications will be returned to the vendor applicant and may delay authorization.

Once notified of an incomplete application, the vendor applicant must submit the missing information to the Maine WIC Nutrition Program within thirty- (30) days from the date of the letter. Applicants who fail to return the missing information within the 30-day deadline will be required to complete a new application and resubmit it to the State Agency.

If all required information meets the selection criteria and the application is approved the State Agency will notify the vendor within thirty (30) days from the date the completed Vendor Application was received.

The State Agency must conduct an on-site visit to the applicant’s store. This visit may occur at any time during the application process at the convenience of the State Agency. This is an on-site inspection to verify whether or not the store meets all the selection criteria.

Once an application has been approved, store owners, managers and/or staff will be required to attend new vendor training which must be held in a face-to-face format. Vendor trainings are held at a particular region of the State each year and at the State Agency in Augusta.

Once training has been completed the vendor applicant and the State Agency will sign a Vendor Agreement. The Vendor Agreement is usually valid for three-(3) years. The initial Agreement period may be for a shorter time frame in order to ensure program administrative efficiency.

The Vendor will be assigned an authorization number, provided with a stamp and will then be allowed to process WIC transactions.

About Leigh Hallett

Leigh has been Executive Director of the Federation since 2014. She can be reached by email (director@mffm.org) or by calling the MFFM offices (487-7114).