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Crops for Cash
Crops for Cash

Montana State University’s new gift program reaps stronger ties in the agricultural community

By Elisa Wiseman


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When it comes to gifts, Montana State University will take cash, checks, or wheat. Earlier in 2016, the institution launched the "Bushels for Bobcats" program, accepting gifts of grains and crops from local farmers in lieu of cash.

The donation process is simple: A farmer gives a portion of his or her crop, and the university sells it back to the original grain elevator, based on market prices.

"It's a way for people to give back with the resources they have at hand," says Samantha Beebout, MSU's associate director of estate, trust and gift planning. "It is local, and wheat and grain production are part of the culture of the state."

"Not only do they feel great about what they're doing for the university," she adds, "but it has some tax benefits for farmers, and it gives us one more way to engage with alumni." Because the program depends on the market—farmers are unlikely to donate a harvest when prices, and therefore their income, are low—Beebout expects success to come in waves. The goal since launching the program in June 2016 has been to make Bushels for Bobcats a household name in Montana's agricultural community.

About the Author Elisa Wiseman

Elisa Wiseman was a summer 2016 editorial intern for Currents.

 

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