Congressman Doug LaMalfa addresses how he will support U.S. farmers and ranchers

We are less than six weeks away from the elections and RFD-TV is committed to showcasing the candidates who will set farm policy on Capitol Hill.

Ahead of the 2020 elections, rural policy is more important than ever. We joined California Congressman Doug LaMalfa to hear how he is supporting farmers and ranchers.

“The Farm Bill has been extremely helpful, with the grants and things that are available to help grow rural communities, rural economies. Broadband has been a big one, rural broadband, expanding that as far as we can into smaller communities and more rural areas is helpful in order to keep up with the technologies that’s happening everywhere else and we shouldn’t be behind on that,” the Representative states.

LaMalfa has been on the House Ag Committee for eight years and says it is becoming more difficult to find common ground with members from urban areas.

According to LaMalfa, “Our urban neighbors don’t always understand what it is we are trying to do, they just look at it as handouts or something like that. That’s far from the truth because a domestically grown food supply is extremely important for the vitality and security of our nation.”

One of his goals is to ease the regulatory burden for farms and forestry. As his state battles devastating wildfires, he says that reforms are needed.

“Our timber industry has been devastated the last 30-40 years by regulation that has really been pretty unreasonable,” he notes. “As we suffer with the fires that we have right now, that is one of our biggest rural challenges... especially the federal lands, U.S. Forest Service has not done a very good job. I’m not talking about the firefighters on the ground that are doing heroic things, but we have to get them in gear on managing these forests better.”

With more than $20 billion dollars in ag exports, expanding global markets is critical to California producers.

“Two of our best partners in trade anywhere are Canada and Mexico, and so we can build on upon that for the Pacific Rim as well. We need to have better in-roads into Japan; China is a tentative situation, it’s obviously a vast market possibility there, but we also have to consider can we really trust them year in year out,” he adds. “They made some commitments a while back, and we’ve gotten tough with them on some policy.”

Back home, Congressman LaMalfa is a fourth generation rice farmers. He says it is important for people to get involved in the policy process: “I never took any political science classes... I wanted to come home and farm, but I always kept an eye on politics and it becomes more evident, more important that people are involved in that because you have to be there helping shape policy or it’s going to leave you behind.”

For full interview, click HERE.