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The Economics of Donations

Thanksgiving is here. The growing season is over in many parts of the country, especially near me in Massachusetts. The days are short and cold. Farmers have harvested what they can. Hopefully, they've sold enough to count the 2021 season as a profitable one. For many Americans, Thanksgiving starts the holiday season. On Tuesday, nonprofits will try to raise money on Giving Tuesday.

These two ideas of giving and the end of the season come together on today's episode of The Grower and The Economist. The episode was recorded in 2020, but the information is still true. Peter and Michelle talk about what in-kind donations from a farm mean to the farm's budget and bottom line.

When looking at donations, we can look at it purely from a profit standpoint. Donating excess produce can help the business and reduce a tax bill. On the other side, if the farm is producing specifically for donating, then it should be considered an expense.

But for many people, the act of making a donation is more than just the dollar amount. There is a sense of pride to be part of the community. Our moral compass pushes us to take care of each other, to share our surplus, to pay it forward. Economists try to put a value on these feelings. The value of these feelings plus the value of the produce is the total value of the donation. If that excessed the cost, then making the donation is a good idea.

Is donating excess produce part of your farm plan? As an individual or a business do you make donations on Giving Tuesday?

Listen to the whole episode-

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