VERONA – Governor Terry McAuliffe today ceremonially signed the Food Crop Donation Tax Credit legislation, which establishes an individual and corporate income tax credit beginning in 2016 for food crops grown and donated by farmers to nonprofit food banks. The bill defines food crops as grains, fruits, nuts or vegetables. The credit will equal 30 percent of the fair market value of the food crops donated by the person during the taxable year, not to exceed an aggregate of $5,000 for any taxable year.
“The First Lady and I are working hard to reduce hunger in the Commonwealth by creating pathways to nutritious food for all Virginians. This new budget allows for $250,000 to be issued in tax credits annually for farmers who participate in the program,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This is an opportunity for our farmers to help provide healthy, Virginia-grown food to the hungry in their communities, while also receiving a valuable tax incentive. Through these newly created partnerships with local non-profit organizations like Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, we will provide greater access to healthy food for our most under-served citizens.”
“Allowing farmers to receive a small tax credit for donating crops that otherwise would have gone to waste is one of the simplest steps we can take as a Commonwealth to help our famers and families,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “I was honored to work with the bill sponsors, Delegate Ben Cline and Senator Creigh Deeds, on this bipartisan measure. The funding in this year’s budget is just a starting point, and we hope we can grow this program to help eliminate malnutrition and hunger in Virginia.”
The event was hosted by Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Founded in 1981 in Staunton, by the end of its first year, the Food Bank distributed 233,000 pounds of food to the hungry through 202 member agencies in 18 counties along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today the food bank serves 25 counties and 8 cities on either side of the Blue Ridge through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester and its headquarters in Verona. It provides nutritious food to 118,600 people each month through a far-reaching network of 208 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, churches and other nonprofit groups.
“The tax credit is a boon for farmers, and hungry individuals and families. Its objective is to increase the donation of fresh, wholesome produce to food banks by reducing the costs to farmers for harvesting and transporting leftover fruits and vegetables in their fields,” said Michael McKee, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “We also know that diet-related diseases are prevalent among people who are food insecure, making this legislation important for helping Virginians in need access more healthful foods.”