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Gillibrand joins push for venison donations


WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand joined a push Tuesday by her fellow senator from New York to encourage hunters to donate deer to the hungry.

Mrs. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., touted legislation by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to offer tax breaks for venison donated to food pantries, among several measures she said would help boost food donations and reduce hunger.

"I think we can get a lot of bipartisan support for that," Mrs. Gillibrand said in a conference call with New York reporters.

When Mr. Schumer introduced the bill in November, he said it would help hungry families ride out the economic downturn while boosting the hunting industry, a big business throughout upstate New York.

Mrs. Gillibrand outlined other measures that she is pushing as well, including doubling funding for the federal emergency food assistance program, from $250 million to $500 million, and making permanent a tax break for farmers, restaurants and food manufacturers that donate food to nonprofit charities.

Although the federal farm bill, which covers federal food programs, boosted funding to programs such as food stamps, it was enacted before the recession tightened its grip.

"The farm bill didn't anticipate unemployment at 10 percent," Mrs. Gillibrand said.

In the north country, seven of eight counties saw increased numbers of meals served in food programs from 2006 to 2009, Mrs. Gillibrand's office reported.

According to her office, St. Lawrence County led the region with more than a million meals served from July 2008 to July 2009, an increase of more than 250,000 from 2006 to 2007.

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