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Help farmers who help food banks
March 30, 2017

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This should be the year a farm-to-food-bank bill is approved in New York state.

The Senate and Assembly both passed bills last week that would give farmers a tax credit for donating fruits, vegetables and other products to food banks. Farmers already donate millions of pounds of food a year, but a tax credit would help reduce the costs of harvesting and transporting surplus crops that would otherwise not be used at all. The Legislature approved the bill in 2016, but it was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the $5,000 tax credit could hurt state finances because the funding wasn't included in the budget.

New York State Farm Bureau officials say the tax credit would be for 25 percent of the wholesale value of the donated food and no more than $5,000 per farm. In 2016, farmers donated more than 13 million pounds of food to regional food banks, which is the equivalent of more than 10 million meals. Farmers want to do their part to help the hungry. New York's government should join them by making a farm to food bank tax credit a reality.

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