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Gifts of Grain Can Be Golden

Sunny CornfieldAccording to the USDA, there are over 2 million farmers in the United States. Although farmers make up just over 1% of the labor force, it is not an audience to overlook for charitable gifts.

As harvest season is upon us, farmers’ greatest assets — such as commodities of corn, soybeans and oats — can yield a generous charitable contribution while also producing tax benefits for the farmer. By contributing commodities or crops to a charitable organization, the cash basis farmer avoids having to include the sale of the cash crop as income, which results in savings of self-employment, federal and state income taxes. Crop share landlords are not eligible.

Here are a few guidelines to consider when inviting a farm donor to consider a gift of grain.

  1. Timing. Prior to harvest, farmers empty their grain bins to make room for the new year’s crop. Gifts of grain to tax-exempt organizations can be donated from the current or previous year’s harvest, as long as it’s unsold crop inventory with no prior sale commitment.
  2. Delivery. Be sure the gift is farm commodities.
  3. Retention of control. Farmers may work with their local elevator to transfer the grain to a charitable organization, but the farmer cannot offer any guidance in the transfer agreement as to the retention or sale of the gifted commodity.
  4. Documentation. A properly executed warehouse receipt in the nonprofit’s name, or a notarized letter of transfer for crops stored on the farm. The original sales invoice should list the nonprofit’s name as seller.

The AMPERAGE fundraising team encourages farmers to consult with their professional finance, tax or legal advisers to determine tax implications prior to making a gift of grain.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.