The Commodities for Communities program was initiated by state agricultural producers who wished to support UT by giving part of their crops instead of money to the UT Foundation. Commodities for Communities allows Tennessee farmers to make a direct transfer of an agricultural commodity such as grain, corn or soybeans to the UT Foundation. The foundation sells the commodities and invests the proceeds back into a community-based UT program of the grower’s choice. Since the program was implemented in the spring of 2013, groups of producers in six counties (Dyer, Crockett, Gibson, Weakley, Fayette and Obion) have pledged their support for UT Extension agriculture programs totaling $1.9 million. Program coordinators with UT anticipate within the next year there will be at least two other county producer groups who will join the list of those pledging support.
Community partners for Commodities for Communities include local producers and farm operators from Dyer, Crockett, Gibson, Weakley, Fayette and Obion counties. Grain elevators throughout West Tennessee have been strong supporters of the program by contributing to the program financially and perhaps more importantly, helping to promote the program to producers who utilize their service. University of Tennessee partners include UT Extension, UT Foundation and UT Institute of Agriculture.
Impact on UT
New resources provided by the community provide much-needed support for UT Extension offices across Tennessee. Never before have the majority of these entities been involved in such a philanthropic way at the University level. This strengthens the bonds between the University and the constituents we serve.
Impact on Community
By investing in UT Extension, local producers invest in themselves as well as future generations of farmers. By supporting UT Extension, Tennessee communities benefit themselves by helping to ensure agriculture programs offered by UT Extension are enhanced into the future. Gifts enable county Extension offices to continue to provide the latest research and educational opportunities offered through UT. Currently the Commodities for Communities program is available in six counties: Dyer, Crockett, Gibson, Weakley, Fayette and Obion. The goal is to expand the program to every county in the state. This expansion of the program will allow UT representatives to broaden the types of commodities to be accepted by UT Foundation as gifts to support county programs and would be handled on a one-on-one basis between producers and UT representatives. Benefits of giving commodities include possible tax savings for farmers and the ease of making a donation. These tax savings are contingent upon the type of commodity and other factors related to each farmer. UT representatives suggest all contributors consult with their tax advisor prior to making a gift. Agriculture is the largest industry.
Grain contributions are extremely easy and require only a donor signature when he/she delivers a harvest to a grain elevator. The grower simply informs the business which portion should be transferred to the ownership of the UT Foundation. The producer signs a form releasing that amount of grain. Once the elevator sells the grain at fair market value they send payment to UT Foundation with proper paperwork for the portion belonging to UT Foundation.
Related Story: Gifting Grains for the Business of Community Livelihood >>
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