EAST HANTS: Nova Scotians most in need are benefiting from farmer donations of produce to food banks under the new food bank tax credit announced in Budget 2016-17.
Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell announced on Dec. 13, at Feed Nova Scotia in Halifax that regulations specifying the types of agricultural products eligible for the tax credit are now in place.
“Our Nova Scotia farmers have generously given to food banks for many years,” said Mr. Colwell. “This tax credit is a way for government to support the contributions farmers make to our communities while also helping ensure our food banks have fresh, local, nutritious produce.”
Individuals or corporations carrying on the business of farming will receive a tax credit equal to 25 per cent of the fair market value of their donations of fresh, surplus produce made to food banks that are registered charities. They will also be eligible for the charitable donation tax credit.
“Nova Scotia farmers for many years have graciously donated to food banks in Nova Scotia because it is the right thing to do,” said Chris van den Heuvel, president of Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. “The Food Bank Tax Credit for Farmers and associated regulations show that government recognizes the resources, such as time, money and labour that go into producing the safe, quality food for the Nova Scotians who need it most.”
The tax credit applies to donations of agricultural products like:
— fruits and vegetables
— pulses, including dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas
— honey and maple syrup
“Farmers are playing a critical role in helping us get fresh produce to Nova Scotians in need and we’re thrilled to be seeing an increase in these donations each month,” said Nick Jennery, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia. “Having the regulations in place will encourage other farmers to give as well.”
Feed Nova Scotia has seen an increase in produce donations each month since the credit was announced. Compared to last year, there was an increase in July of more than 10,000 kilograms and an increase of almost 30,000 kilograms in August.
The tax credit is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016. It is estimated that the tax credit could be worth $300,000 this year.