Farmers from across the state donated 9 million pounds of food to regional food banks.

Farmers from across the state donated 9 million pounds of food to regional food banks. New York Farm Bureau and Food Bank Association of New York State announced Tuesday the donation of fresh food and farm products this year, through the month of November.

The donation amounts to more than 7 million meals provided to New Yorkers in need, according to a release. With a month to go in the donation effort and additional reporting anticipated from food banks, the number is expected to climb. In addition, the NYFB, Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee gave a $500 contribution Tuesday to the Food Bank Association of New York State.

The announcement at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York was in conjunction with the start of New York Farm Bureau’s 2017 State Annual Meeting in Albany. Members and agricultural partners give during a yearlong effort to feed the hungry across the state. Capital Region farmers brought local squash, apples, and milk to add to the donated product for the announcement. They were joined by Richard Ball, commissioner of New York State Agriculture and Markets.

The food is collected through the “Harvest for All” donation program, a nationwide annual farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and the Food Bank Association of NYS administer the statewide donation partnership. The food is then distributed among the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state.

Beginning next year, farmer donations will qualify for a small tax credit of up to $5,000 of the price of donated food to offset a portion of the costs to pick, package and deliver the fresh produce to regional food banks and pantries. This is a result of the passage of the Farm to Food Bank Bill that New York Farm Bureau and the Food Bank Association advocated for, which was included in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget.

“New York farmers come through year after year with generous donations of fresh food to help feed people in their communities who may be struggling,” stated David Fisher, NYFB president.

“This effort remains a priority for New York Farm Bureau and we are proud to partner with Feeding America and our outstanding regional food banks across the state,” stated Fisher.