LANSING — State Rep. Brian K. Elder (D-Bay City) introduced a bill to create a tax credit for farmers and food processors who donate edible agricultural products grown, raised and/or processed in Michigan. House Bill 5373 would amend the Michigan Income Tax Act to allow these farmers and food processors to claim a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the value of the donated products or $3,000, whichever is less.

“Michigan has one of the longest seasons of fresh local produce available throughout the U.S. But while our fields are full, many stomachs are not as families continue to struggle with stagnant or declining wages,” Rep. Elder said. “With the holidays upon us, what better way to acknowledge and celebrate the season of giving this year than by encouraging farmers and food processors in the state to donate their products to food banks and homeless shelters, so that those who may not otherwise have access to food won’t go hungry.”

According to data from Kids Count, from 2011-2014 more than one in seven children in Michigan lived in a family that was either unable to access or unsure how to provide enough food for all members of their household because of a lack of resources. In 2012, state Republicans implemented a massive tax shift that did away with various tax credits, including the Homeless Shelter/Food Bank Credit. Elder’s HB 5373 would create a new credit for agricultural contributions to encourage these producers to help feed the hungry.

“It is important that we use Michigan’s impressive agricultural sector to feed the neediest in our state,” Rep. Elder said. “Giving back to our communities will improve the ability for hunger-relief organizations to combat hunger, and connect people with meals they would otherwise not have access to. I hope my colleagues will recognize the widespread benefits of this tax credit and support this important legislation.”