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Harder plans telephone town hall meeting aimed at helping agriculture
Josh Harder

 As a member of Congress, Josh Harder is in a unique position to help the farmers in his agriculture-heavy district when it comes to navigating the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on product markets.

And this week he’s asking those in the agricultural community to participate in a telephone town hall on Friday about the federal resources that are available to help those that grow our food through these uncertain economic times – bridging the gap between the government and the people tasked with feeding more than 340 million Americans.

Harder, a Turlock Democrat that has made accessibility a cornerstone of his elected position, has heard from dozens of local farmers who have seen the economic impact of the pandemic first-hand in the form of cancelled contracts and reduced demand for their products. As stories of farmers and growers around the country plowing their crops back into fields because there is nowhere to sell them and dairies dumping milk down the drain because there are no customers to buy their product have become more commonplace, Harder is making a point to connect with the lifeblood of the local economy.

Last month Harder held an event with more than 300 small business owners that focused on providing information about how to access federal funding that has been made available to them, and will follow a similar format – including guests from the Small Business Administration that will be on hand to answer specific questions and render assistance where possible.

While small farms were initially excluded from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan that was expanded under the CARES Act, Harder was part of a bipartisan effort of 80 members of the House that pushed for a reversal to that decision that will allow for farmers to access up to $10,000 in grants and $2 million in low-interest loans to prevent the farms from going under.

More than a week before shelter-in-place orders officially went into effect, Harder has been actively holding meetings virtually through a number of formats to keep his constituents informed about what is going on and what resources are available to help those that are struggling. Since early March Harder has held at least one virtual event every single week and routinely includes special guests ranging from federal officials to local health experts to provide current and up-to-date information to the 10th Congressional District.

Those who wish to participate in the telephone meeting, which takes place on Friday, May 8 at 3 p.m., can do so by calling 669.900.9128 and entering 813 2251 7294 followed by the pound sign.

Anybody wishing to submit questions in advance can do so by visiting and submitting the question card prior to the day of the event.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.