ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging Maryland farmers to take advantage of the Maryland Food Donation Pilot Program. Maryland farmers who donate food to a charity that participates in the state’s Food Donation Pilot Program are eligible for up to $5,000 per year of tax credit against State income taxes.

“This innovative program is a win-win for everyone,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder. “Not only does it help address food waste and combat hunger, it gives Maryland farmers the opportunity to give back and reduce their taxes. Due to the success of the program, it has now expanded statewide, allowing more Maryland farmers the opportunity to donate fresh food to those who need it most. I encourage all Maryland farmers to participate in the Maryland Food Donation Pilot Program.”

The Maryland Department of Agriculture manages the program in cooperation with the Comptroller and has authority to issue up to $100,000 in tax credits annually. Eligible donations are defined as “fresh farm products for human consumption.” Food donations are eligible for a tax credit of up to 50% of the value of the donation, not to exceed $5,000 per calendar year. Certified organic produce donations are eligible for a tax credit of 75% of its value.

Originally launched in 2017 in Southern Maryland and Montgomery County, the program was expanded statewide in 2019 by the Maryland General Assembly and will now continue until the end of 2021.

To participate in the program, charities or non-profit organizations must become a Tax Credit Certificate Administrator (TCCA). Organizations can become a TCCA by completing an Application for Tax Credit Certificate Administrator for the Maryland Food Donation Pilot Program and submitting it to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Upon approval by the department, the organization will receive a signed copy of the agreement and an assigned TCCA number.

Once an organization is a TCCA, they can submit eligible food donations from a qualified farm to the program by completing the Producer Donation Form.

Forms should be submitted to the Maryland Department of Agriculture Marketing Office by mail to 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD, 21401 or via email to marylands.best@maryland.gov.

For more information or questions on the application process, visit the program’s webpage or contact Deborah Proud at (410) 841-5793.

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