Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to fight hunger by providing a tax credit to farmers that donate produce to food banks was advanced by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
“After a harvest, commercial farmers regularly end up with a surplus of crops that have some kind of cosmetic defect that makes it unmarketable but are still perfectly good to eat,” Senator Oroho said. “We want to encourage these farmers to donate these extra crops to people in need, rather than just let them go to waste.”
The bill, S-512, provides corporation business tax and gross income tax credits for the value of fruits and vegetable donations made by New Jersey’s Commercial Farmers over a five-year period. The amount of the credit would be equal to 10-percent of the whole sale value of the produce at the time of the donation.
The credit is intended to provide an incentive to farmers to donate surplus crops to local food banks. According to Feeding America, more than 1 million New Jersey residents were food insecure in 2014, about 11-percent of the state’s population.
“A lot of people count on these food banks to feed their families, and they do a great job giving help to people in need,” Senator Oroho said. “But they often rely on canned food, which is good, but it can’t match the nutrition or health benefits of fresh produce. At this time of year, it’s important to think about the less fortunate and ensure no one spends the holidays hungry.”