Farmers are watching a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that stands to benefit not only them but also Virginians statewide who are in need of food.\r\nHB 1093, introduced by Del. Benjamin Cline, R-Amherst, and SB 580, introduced by Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, would create a state income tax credit for farmers who make food crop donations to a food bank. The credit would equal 30 percent of the fair market value of such donations, not to exceed $5,000.\r\nThe bill defines food crops as grains, fruits, nuts or vegetables. The credit would become available in July and would last through 2020.\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s not going to be a program that farmers are going to use to make money,\u201d said Montgomery County dairyman and sweet corn grower Casey Phillips. At most, he explained, \u201cit might help cover some of the seed costs.\u201d\r\nBut it could be an effective incentive, Phillips added, for farmers to donate surplus food\u2014or plant more specifically to donate.\r\nLast July, Phillips organized a donation of surplus sweet corn from his farm by the youth group from Bethel United Methodist Church in Montgomery. \u201cI hated that (the corn) was sitting out there going to waste,\u201d he said. Involving youth from his church created an opportunity to expose them to farming while benefiting the community.\r\n\u201cThey did all the work\u201d in the field, \u201cand we took it to the food bank for them,\u201d he said. The 800 pounds of corn was welcomed at the It\u2019s All About Jesus Outreach and Help Center in Radford, an affiliate of the Feeding America hunger relief organization.\r\nHB 1093 and SB 580 have received support from Virginia\u2019s first lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, who has focused efforts on addressing childhood hunger and improving Virginians\u2019 access to fresh and local foods. She met February 8 with participants in Virginia Farm Bureau Federation\u2019s Young Farmers and Growing Leaders programs.\r\nPhillips was among the farmers who met with McAuliffe and legislators. He said he told the first lady that farmers with whom he\u2019s talked about the proposed tax credit \u201cmentioned that they would actually consider planting (more) to donate\u201d if it is enacted.