Growers earning less than $500,000 could get a $10,000 federal tax credit under a new bill authored by California Rep. Joe Baca.
To qualify under Baca’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grower Tax Incentive Act, introduced Sept. 22, at least 75% of that income would have to be from produce sales.
Baca, D-Rialto, is chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition.
The bill aims to stimulate local production near impoverished areas with inadequate supply — or “food deserts” — Baca spokesman John Lowrey said.
“One of the intended outcomes is to see more farmers markets in these areas,” Lowrey said. “It will level off the price a little bit to help some of our underserved families.”
“One of the criticisms of the Farm to School idea has been on the supply side of getting more fruits and vegetables,” he said. “Some schools might not have enough local growers in the area. This [bill] would promote more fruit and vegetable growers.”
Baca said in a news release that 23.5 million Americans live in “food deserts,” mostly urban places where consumers lack ready access to cars or supermarkets. Instead they shop at convenience stores or bodegas with scant produce offerings. That contributes to childhood obesity, according to Baca.
The tax credit has no time limit and would be available annually.