Give a Gift of Grain

Posted: August 17, 2018

Donating a gift of grain can make a lasting difference. The value of the grain can be used to support charitable causes in your community.

Give a Gift of Grain is a new initiative of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the DeKalb County Community Foundation. The Foundations are collaborating to offer farmers and landowners another option of charitable giving.

Helping launch the Give a Gift of Grain initiative are landowners Steve Lake, Bill Mullins and Beth White. All three are donating grain from their soon-to-be harvested corn fields to the Foundations.

“It’s another mechanism of giving, particularly as folks in agriculture, to be philanthropic in our community,” notes Beth White, Waterman. “I always try to give what I can. Giving is not just for the wealthy, it’s for anyone and it’s believing in causes.”

Steve Lake of Earlville says, “I feel blessed to be part of a great community and give back when I can. Charitable giving is not a stairway to heaven but helps in life as a good deed.”

Bill Mullins is supportive of both Foundations and realizes how his contribution will be used to benefit agriculture by educating the public about farm and food production. Bill is hoping other farmers see the benefits of giving grain and at the same time get a tax savings.

“It’s a lot easier to truck grain from the field and donate bushels instead of cash. And, it doesn’t show up on your farm income, which is especially good
in a lean year,” explains Mullins of Shabbona.

How the Gift of Grain Works

Farmers can deduct the cost of grain which typically results in saving self-employment tax, federal income tax and state income tax. You benefit even if you don’t itemize your deductions and take the standard deduction.

For example, you take a truckload of grain to the elevator and donate 500 bushels of corn, valued at roughly $1,500, to charity. You would not declare the 500 bushels as part of your farm income and 100% would be a charitable gift.

“Why write a personal check and pay 25% income tax (on grain sales) when you can avoid taxes and 100% would go to charity,” says Mullins.
“For farmers, it’s a bigger bang for your buck!”

At harvest, farmers may donate new crop corn or soybeans by delivering the grain to a commercial elevator or throughout the year farmers can donate grain in storage.


Farmers will have access to Gift of Grain information at area grain elevators.

The Gift of Grain account has been established with the Community Foundation whereby farmers can direct their grain donation to either the Community Foundation or Farm Bureau Foundation and also earmark the donation for a specific cause or charity. The Community Foundation will receive the monetary donation and disburse the funds to the intended charitable group.

“It’s all about being philanthropic and taking care of each other in our community,” says Beth White, who serves on the Community Foundation Board of Directors and was instrumental in developing the Gift of Grain. “This program started as a conversation between the two Foundations. It’s a good charitable program for folks in agriculture.”

Here are the steps for grain gifts:

  1. Let the Community Foundation know which elevator you will be taking the grain to. The gift should be from unsold crop inventory with no sale commitment made prior to the gift.
  2. Deliver the grain to the elevator to the Gift of Grain account.
  3. Request a settlement report from the elevator. This must show the Foundation as the owner of the grain.
  4. We will provide you with a donation receipt for your gift. Remember, it is non-deductible on your taxes. Instead, you won’t declare this amount of grain as income for your farm.
  5. After the grain is donated, the elevator will sell it at the spot closing price on the day of delivery for the Gift of Grain account. The settlement sheet will name the Community Foundation as the seller of the grain and the Foundation will receive sale proceeds for your intended purpose.

When you donate grain, you will need to decide how you would like your donation to be used. You may choose either the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation or the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Steve Lake assures farmers that the Foundations are good choices for grain donations. “I trust them (the Foundations) to direct my donation to the right place.”

Each of these Foundations provide the opportunity to make a positive impact and donors may earmark funds for specific initiatives. Some include:

  • Agriculture Awareness
  • Education
  • Community Development
  • Literacy
  • Local Charities
  • Natural Resources
  • Nonprofit Support
  • Scholarships

Local Foundations work to improve the quality of life in DeKalb County by connecting donors with their charitable passions.

Donors make a difference with the gifts they provide for charitable funds. These funds benefit every community and create lasting legacies.