LEGISLATOR PROFILE Josh Harder: Giving a Megaphone to the Ag Community U.S. Representative Harder represents California’s 10th Congressional District, located in California’s Central Valley covering Stanislaus County and parts of San Joaquin County

By Chardae Heim A s a freshman Democratic congressman, Rep. Josh Harder came into office with a big job to do. Harder’s district is one of seven in California that Democrats successfully flipped during the 2018 elections. His district covers California’s Central Valley, including Stanislaus County and parts of San Joaquin County. While Harder is new to politics, he is no stranger to this agriculturally-rich area. Harder is a fifth-generation Central Valley resident and has been surrounded by agriculture his entire life. His great-great- grandfather joined a wagon train with the intention of finding gold but settled 50 miles short of his destination in Manteca, Calif., instead to become a peach grower. With California’s Mediterranean climate, quality soil and plentiful water, Harder’s great-great-grandfather could not pass on this opportunity to start a life and a new profession. “I really grew up understanding the importance of agriculture through the valley and the contributions that have been made,” said Harder. “Everyone in the country eats our food but doesn’t understand how or where it comes from.” Prior to becoming a politician, he began his career in the private sector as an investor where he worked to create jobs and grow businesses. Through this venture, he took his passion for agriculture, meshed it with his devotion to service and traveled to both Kenya and Uganda to help small farmers gain access to funding. “If there is one value my parents instilled in me, it’s service. I’ve always worked in and around issues of economic development,” Harder stated.

20   Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com   SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2019

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