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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Ore. Farmers Want Tax Break For Donated Crops


Oregon farmers are hoping the state Legislature makes it worth their while to donate crops that would otherwise go to waste.

Oregon lawmakers Wednesday considered a measure that would bring back an expired tax credit for donating fresh produce to food banks.

Low-income families often can't afford fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers sometimes have an abundance that they'd like to donate. But they can't afford the extra cost to harvest and transport the goods.

It's cheaper to let it go to waste.

The current measure would renew the tax credit and bump it up from 10 percent to 15 percent of the crop's wholesale value.

Salem-area orchardist John Zielinski told lawmakers that even 15 percent doesn't fully reimburse him for the expense.

"As a farmer, I would love to see it much higher than that," Zielinski said. "Twenty-five or 30 percent would be a real incentive and would start to recover some of the costs that we would incur."

The bill is awaiting a vote in the House Revenue Committee. That panel's chair, Democrat Phil Barnhart, says he doesn't think there's enough legislative support for increasing the credit above 15 percent.