FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has come forward with legislation to help businesses and individuals who wish to donate food to organizations that serve hungry Kentuckians.
“These measures would provide incentives and protections for those who want to join the fight against hunger in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This is due to the work of the Hunger Task Force, which met for the first time last spring. This is just the beginning of our efforts to reduce food insecurity in the Commonwealth.”
One proposal would double the tax credit for food products donated to food banks to 20 percent. The current tax credit is 10 percent and is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Quarles also called for the tax credit to be made permanent. Few Kentucky farmers know about the tax credit, and even fewer use it. The state Department of Revenue reported that only one taxpayer was approved to claim the credit in its first two years. Quarles said this measure would provide a stronger financial incentive for farmers to donate surplus foods.
A second proposal would strengthen the shield against legal liability for food donations beyond that of the federal Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, making Kentucky’s food donor immunity shield one of the strongest in the nation. The measure would provide a stronger immunity shield for individuals and businesses, and their employees, who donate to food banks; for food banks and their employees; and for landowners who allow gleaners to come onto their land to pick vegetables and fruits for the hungry.
Commissioner Quarles launched the first-of-its-kind Kentucky Hunger Initiative and formed the Hunger Task Force last spring to bring together farmers, businesses, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, government entities, and others to study food insecurity in Kentucky and take an inventory of the resources that can be utilized against the problem.
To raise awareness of the scope of the hunger problem in Kentucky, the KDA will join the Kentucky Association of Food Banks to host the annual Rally to Solve Hunger on Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. EST at the Capitol Rotunda.
Map the Meal Gap 2016, an annual study by Feeding America, revealed that one in six Kentuckians – including one in five children – was food insecure in 2014, meaning that consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year. Kentucky organizations that serve the hungry fed an estimated 58 million meals to approximately 611,000 Kentuckians in 2016.
For more information about the Hunger Initiative and the Hunger Task Force, go to kyagr.com/hunger.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture
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