The donation provides nearly 9 million meals to New Yorkers in need through area food banks

The New York Farm Bureau announced Tuesday that farmers statewide donated 10.63 million pounds of fresh food and farm products this year through the end of November. That is more than 1.6 million pounds of food compared to this time last year. The donation provides nearly 9 million meals to New Yorkers in need.

Farm Bureau and Food Bank Association of New York State announced the donation at the start of the 2018 annual state meeting in Syracuse.

The 2018 donation amount is expected to grow by the end of the month, with additional reporting anticipated from food banks. In addition, the New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee gave a $150 contribution Tuesday to the Food Bank Association of New York State.

“New York farmers routinely are among the most generous in the country when it comes to donating food,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president. “They have made it a priority in both direct action and public policy support to improve access to healthy, fresh food in our state.”

“We are proud to partner with Feeding America and our outstanding regional food banks across the state, including the Food Bank of Central New York. They make the donation process as easy as possible to get local food from the farm fields to people in need in their communities,” added Fisher in also thanking farmers for their donations

At the announcement made at Food Bank of Central New York, farmers brought local squash, eggs, apples and milk to add to their food bank donations.

The food is collected through the “Harvest for All” program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and the Food Bank Association of NYS administer the statewide donation partnership. 

The food is distributed among the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state. This is the first year farmer food donations will qualify for a small tax credit of up to $5,000 to offset a portion of the costs to pick, package and deliver the fresh produce to regional food banks and pantries.

Kathleen Stress is executive director of Food Bank of Central New York and Food Bank Association Board chair. She said food banks rely heavily on fresh produce to maintain nutritional meal standards. The nine member food banks of the association “are blessed to have such dedicated partners who help with food while also giving of their time and talent,” she said.

Over the past 15 years, New York farmers have contributed over 86 million pounds of food to the food bank system. This translates into over 76 million meals for those in need. In addition to food donations, New York Farm Bureau members have also been generous in donating funds and have volunteered their time.