New law gives tax credit to farmers who donate produce to food banks

(Photo: Courtesy of Food Bank of the Rockies)
<p>Food Bank of the Rockies Mobile Unit</p>

Photo: Child at Soup KitchenColorado food banks can expect to have more fresh produce in the pantry this year.

Governor John Hickenlooper is signing into law a bill that gives farmers up to $5,000 in tax credits for donations of fruits and vegetables to agencies that feed the hungry.

The credit can offset the cost of harvesting the food, which sometimes forces farmers to leave some of their crop in the ground.

Janie Gianotsos with the Food Bank of the Rockies says fresh vegetables will be a welcome addition to donated packaged food. Her organization delivers food to 1400 agencies across northern Colorado.

"We get a lot of canned product and non-perishable product which is essential, but there is nothing like a nice fresh carrot or fresh potato, onions, you know, things that you can’t necessarily get in a can, they’re not quite the same," Gianotsos says.

Oregon, California and Arizona have similar programs.

Under Colorado's new law, farmers will get a tax credit equal to a quarter of the market value of the donated food up to the $5,000 cap.

The tax credit applies to dairy and meat products as well as fruit and vegetables.