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Harvest Season Produces Opportunity for Farmers to Give Back Through Gift of Grain

September 15, 2021

As harvest season approaches, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa wants farmers to know about and consider the opportunity to benefit their local community through a gift of grain.

Donating a gift of grain to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa is a simple way to make a charitable gift outside of the traditional cash contribution. The value of the grain can be used to start an endowed fund in the name of an individual or family, be given to a specific nonprofit organization or support overall charitable causes.

“Crops are the livelihood of our local farmer,” said Laurie Everhardt, director of development with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. “Farmers work hard to plant, grow, and produce thriving crops which is like what we do with charitable gifts at the Community Foundation. We grow the initial gift of grain and the interest on those funds can be granted out to better the community.”

By giving grain to the Community Foundation, farmers can avoid including the sale of the grain in their farm income. Although a charitable income tax deduction is generally not available, the significant benefit is the avoidance of declaring it as income. The cost of growing the crops is deducted, which typically results in saving self-employment tax, federal income tax and state income tax. Benefits can be had even if one does not itemize the deductions and takes the standard deduction. Farmers considering a gift of grain are encouraged to first discuss this option with a tax advisor.

The simplest way to give a gift of grain is to let the Community Foundation know of the intended gift. The gift should be from unsold crop inventory with no sale commitment made prior to the gift. The crop is then taken to the grain buyer and the seller tells the buyer how much grain he/she would like to put into an account set up by the Community Foundation. The grain buyer then notifies the Community Foundation which sells the grain and receives the sale proceeds.

Gifts of grain to endowment funds with a qualified community foundation, like the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, are eligible for a 25% state tax credit on the total value of the gift through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. All qualified donors can carry forward the tax credit for up to five years after the year the donation was made. More information about Endow Iowa can be found at

Additional details about gift of grain can be found here. Questions about gift of grain or other types of gifts can be directed to Laurie Everhardt at 319-243-1352 or