New tax credit available for N.Y.S. farmers who donate produce to food banks

Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 17:53:47-04

It's business as usual at Russell Farms, INC along Hess Road in Appleton, Niagara County. But, the particular produce being packaged won't make a profit for the fruit and vegetable farmer. The cabbage is being donated to the Food Bank of Western New York. “We want to do our part to get fruits and vegetables locally grown to as many people as possible,” said Peter Russell of Russell Farms.

Russell said it's something they've been doing for years.

Now, there's an incentive thanks to the farm to food bank tax credit included in the new state budget.

It couldn't come at a better time for the Food Bank of W.N.Y. The non-profit's seen a four percent increase in need this year. “We're actually serving 135,000 individuals in any given month. And that's just across four counties,” said Catherine Shick. Shick’s the Public Relations Manager for the food bank.

That's why the food bank is grateful for all farm donations. Shick said they've received some 40 thousand pounds of donated produce from area farmers in the last year. That's despite being cost prohibitive. “Whether it's the cost of picking the product, transporting the product, it's really unfortunate. It's really heartbreaking b/c there's a lot of food that's left un-harvested each year.”

The food bank hopes this tax credit curbs food waste.

Russell donates anyhow. But, he said the incentive won't hurt. “Doing business in NY is not cheap. It's expensive to do business here. That's why fruits and veggies are expensive. We'll more than welcome any type of tax credits.”

The credit is limited to $5,000 a year.