After three years of support, persuasion and hard work, the Farm to Food Bank Bill is now a reality thanks in large part to state Sen. Rich Funke, R-55th District. The senator sponsored the bill in his chamber and worked tirelessly with the New York Farm Bureau, Foodlink and others to make sure it finally received funding in the New York state budget.

The legislation creates a small tax credit to offset the picking, packaging and transportation of local food to regional food banks and emergency food pantries. Farms can claim 25 percent of the fair market value of the donated food, up to $5,000 annually. The result will be more fresh fruits and vegetables made available to low-income New Yorkers who can least afford to buy healthy food at the grocery store.

Last year alone, New York’s farmers donated more than 13 million pounds of food. This number will undoubtedly climb as the bill addresses the costly burden for many farms to get food out of the fields that otherwise may go to waste. Ontario County Farm Bureau appreciates Sen. Funke’s efforts to get this bill across the finish line. It will help feed families throughout our community.

Lisa Grefrath

Ontario County Farm Bureau President