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Little known program lets farmers donate crops to charity and get tax deductions

(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 6, 2017 at 6:21 PM CDT
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Some farmers are giving the gift of grain to non-profits in eastern Iowa.

But that's not leaving those farmers empty-handed. It's part of a program that gives farmers tax deductions if they donate a part of their crops to non-profits. Jim Dan is donating several truckloads of soybeans to his church through the Gift of Grain program.

"Any commodity you raise it could be. It could even be meat. Could be beef cattle" said Dane.

He said it's a perfect setup. Charities make money by selling the donated grain and he gets tax deductions at a much better rate than if he donated money.

"Depending on your net income the savings could be pretty tremendous. 15.3% in terms of employment tax you might save" said Thelen, the assistant director of the University of Iowa Non-profit Resource Center.

"It can add up to 40-45% of what you would normally give so it's worth it" said Dane.

But Thelen said not many farmers know about the program.

"Participation is surprisingly low considering the number of farmers who farm the state of Iowa and who also give very consistently to their favorite charities" said Thelen.

"It's a great program and I would encourage other farmers to take a look at it. It doesn't cost you any extra, it just saves a little bit on tax money and you can give a little more" said Dane.

For years Dane has dedicated an entire acre of land just to donate corn and soybeans to charity.

"It gives you immense satisfaction. I'm very proud of the crops I've raised. I enjoy doing it and then the fact that I can give it instead of dollars makes it more personal" said Dane.

Even though Tax Day is coming up fast, farmers can still sign up or start planning ahead for next year.