Dave Miller, who’s running for Commissioner of Agriculture-West Virginia on the Democratic ticket, is our guest today on the May 19 edition of the Richard Urban Show where news and views from God’s point of view are presented.
Richard: Please tell us a little about yourself or your family or whatever you like to share to introduce yourself.
Miller: My name is Dave Miller and I live in Preston County in a little town, Tunnelton that used to be a booming gold town. I was born here, and have had a really great career, been thankful for that. I’m married, I have three children and four grandchildren. I went to Fairmont State College. I got my master’s degree in the University of Virginia, and I’ve been a teacher, a coach, a principal, director of personnel in the county here, I also worked five years for Commissioner Douglas at the Department of Agriculture, and after that Commissioner Douglas said I would like for you to be Commissioner but as you know, Commissioners serve for 4 years and I went on to do something else before he retired. In the last five years I was the director of Extension Service for the state of West Virginia. I’d always wanted to run for commissioner of agriculture and this kind of presented itself as the best time for me to do that, and so that’s why my wife and I sat down and we talked about it and said, “Well maybe now is the time to do it before it’s too late.”
“We’re very much interested in creating a niche market for the people, for the farmers to sell products and to make sure that our food supply for the people is safe and that’s what the Department of Agriculture is – one of their duties – that’s what they do. So we’re very much interested in being a part of that,” Miller continued.
Richard: You’re online on your website, talking about the niche market. And so that’s one of the main things you were emphasizing. Are there other key points you’re emphasizing in your platform as you’re running, along with a niche market?
Miller answers: “I think there’s a place for the farm to table selling of our products to local people. I think the farm to school, we have had our schools buy more of the farmers’ products. And I think it’s very important now, especially since we’ve had this virus scare that people see that maybe local farmers are a very important part to get our products out and so forth. Maybe this global or united type of supply that we have sometimes it’s not that dependable. And I’m a very strong supporter of having a label on the food as to where it comes from, origin, country of origin, because I think that we, the United States, have a great opportunity to sell and market our products. So, all those type of things, to help the people and to help to farmers the farmers we’re interested in.”
Richard: Right now is a country of origin required? I noticed sometimes I see on honey, product of Argentina or whatever country, or it’s not required?
“It’s not required, the USDA and the Congress took it off. It was on there, but they took it off. And now, those of us that support that are trying to fight to get the Commerce and the USDA to put it back on the country of origin,” Miller answered.
Richard: There are some that are requesting the GMO labeling. Is it something to do or not? What do you think about that?
.“That’s a genetic modified type of product. And some people are totally against that because they think if you eat a lot of that food that comes from the GM product then you may get sick or injured in some way. And then the other side is saying that no it’s not, it is safe and it will not hurt you. I’m at the point we don’t try to use much of that. We try to be as natural as possible. The problem with being natural, organic, it takes a lot more work. It takes a lot of hard work to get rid of weeds and so forth, so, we advocate that you try not to use, as much of that, as possible,” Miller explained.
Richard: Has the COVID-19 situation affected farmers such as yourself very much or not?
“My life has been the same since it started. You know I live on 100-some acres, so I don’t have to be worried about people coming to social distancing with me, but a lot of people are affected differently. Farmers have been affected because they have had trouble maybe selling their products, maybe selling and trucking their products to different places and so forth. But on the other side of that, I think it’s a great opportunity for farmers to have and to show the people how local products are much better than what they have to be shipped in from other places. For example. Now, you’ve probably heard about this, that some of the large slaughter houses in the Midwest began to shut down because their employees are all sick with the virus, and so forth, so the supply of meat and the supply of pork and chicken is way down. So I think now a lot of our small slaughter houses in the state of West Virginia have really been busy, because people are buying locally, having their meat butchered at the local slaughter houses,” Miller said.
Richard: Do you think subsidies are needed or it would be better if there were less subsidies?
Miller said “I think it’s case by case. I don’t totally believe in all the subsidies. I do believe in it if there’s crop insurance, if we have weather that wipes out your crops, if we have a disease or maybe insects or something that comes in and causes a huge problem with your crops or with your cattle, or whatever, that kind of insurance, or subsidy – probably would be good to help that farmer out. “
Richard: I know you’re running against a couple of other people in the primary. How would you differentiate yourself? Would you care to say how you’re different from other candidates, something that the voters would like to know, especially in the primary ticket?
“Well, I think my experience. The things I’ve been able to do in my career, plus working with the Department of Agriculture for five years, to know the ins and outs of how that department works. I think my experience with people. I’ve been an administrator for at least 40 years, and I know how to work with people. I like to talk to people, I like to be in face-to-face, but not so much e-mails or text messages, if I have a problem, I like to go sit down and talk to them. I think that sets me apart from a lot of other people because I’m not afraid to hear your suggestions. And that’s one of the things I’m going to do, if I do get that far, I’m going to talk to all the people that work for the Department, see what the problems are, what they think and then go from there. Or, I need to talk to the farmers also.” Mr. Miller said.
Richard: Would you like to add anything else before we close? Just maybe summarize for the voters, something about your qualifications or anything else you’d like to share?
“I just think that in my career and still in my life today I put the Lord first, my family second, and then the job would be third. I think that’s the type of person I am, a down-to-earth person. What you see is what you get. I may not be able to do what you want me to do, but I will listen and we’ll see where we have to go because you’ll very seldom ever see me write anything about I did this or I did that because I can’t do it by myself. I need your help to get things done,” Miller concluded.