Tax credit could help Kamloops area farmers

By Adam Donnelly
February 15, 2016 - 4:27pm Updated: February 17, 2016 - 2:01pm

KAMLOOPS — Regional agriculture is an important contributor to the local economy, and a key component to ensuring our food supply remains secure, especially in light of the rising cost of imported produce. During their 2013 Provincial election campaign, the Liberal government in BC promised to implement a tax credit to farmers who donate unsold produce to local charitable organizations, like food banks; speaking to one local farmer, he's not sure a tax credit like this one will have a big impact on donations to the local food bankfrom area farmers.

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While it’s still technically winter, Dieter Dudy is already planning ahead, getting ready for the growing season. The owner and operator of Thistle Farms has a couple of 2000 square foot greenhouses he’ll soon be planting vegetables in , so when the first farmers market of the year rolls around, he’ll have fresh produce ready to sell. But what about the veggies he doesn’t sell?

"My understanding is, that farmers can get a tax credit of up to 25% of market value of produce they donate to charitable groups, such as food banks," Dudy said.

The idea dates back to the 2013 provincial election; the BC Liberal's promised to institute the tax credit as part of their re-election platform. According to Dudy, he - like many other farmers in the region - have been donating their produce to the local food bank for years. "Farmers, for years, and years, and years have been donating food, anyhow, for nothing," Dudy pointed out.

Bernadette Siracky, Executive Director of the Kamloops Food Bank says her organization has been well looked after by area farmers over the years. "Depending on what is... in season, we are overwhelemd with donations from farmers, and local producers," Siracky said, when asked about the idea of a tax credit. "They [area farmers] would much rather give it to us, or to other organizations that make meals in the community, rather than till it under, or send it to the landfill."

While Dudy doesn’t believe the tax break will inspire a whole new generation of farmers, he is pleased at the possibility of getting something for the donations he already makes. "There's not going to be any change to the way farmers do things around here," Dudy said,"they've already been donating produce. What people are just recognizing... and hopefully the government is just recognizing the fact, that we're doing this [donating food] and that we deserve something for that."

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