Congressman Josh Harder looks to defend farmers as he runs for reelection

Political watchers will be keeping an eye on California’s 10th congressional district one week from today.

Two years ago, the seat in the San Joaquin Valley flipped from red to blue. Democrat Josh Harder is defending his seat.

Lawmakers across the country are looking for solutions to the global pandemic. California Democrat Josh Harder says that the 10th district has lost 90 dairy farms over the past ten years and COVID-19 has only added to the uncertainty in the industry.

“That’s why we need to make sure that we are doubling down on things that are proven to work to support agriculture,” Congressman Harder states. “Things like nutrition programs that bring fresh foods directly to schools and cut the red tape that exists in that process today, as well as addressing all the challenges that have held some of our farmers back, things like a lack of consistent immigration policy for workers across this country.”

He says that COVID-19 also made it clear, rural communities do not have the same healthcare capacity as urban areas.

According to Harder, “We need doctors in every part of the country. So, I wrote a bill to create a loan forgiveness program for physicians working in areas of need. That will bring 10,000 doctors to our area and other rural communities just in our state. We’ve got a great bipartisan group of folks working on that effort.”

He also wrote apprenticeship legislation to create more opportunities for students.

“We have a huge shortage of maintenance mechanics on farms all across the country,” Harder states. “I wrote a bill identifying opportunities to grow skills education and make sure we are creating more pathways to the middle class that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree.”

In the next Farm Bill, he says that his goal is to call attention to the specialty crops that have been left out of farm programs and support programs that work for agriculture.

“We also need to make sure that we are identifying programs that have been successful and scaling those programs up, things like EQUIP, which have been focused on land conservation,” he adds. “We lose so much farmland every year to development, we need to make sure we are preserving our farmland, and programs like EQUIP are doing a great job of that already. We need to make sure that they are accelerating to more areas.”

Congressman Harder is serving his first-term and currently holds a seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

For the full interview, click HERE.

For more election coverage, click HERE.