The Bandera County Republican Women hosted Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at the Silver Sage on Thursday night.
Miller is a Stephenville resident and a business owner. He has earned nine world championship titles as a rodeo cowboy. He started his career as an agriculture teacher and served on the local school board.
Miller spoke with jovial frankness about his job as Agricultural Commissioner.
He detailed the job of the commissioner. He humorously referred to his job as “cows, plows and sows. We are all about agriculture.”
Miller did state that the duties of the Agriculture Department is “so much more.” He remarked his budget is six billion dollars and larger than 31 state budgets.
“Even since the cattle drives, agriculture is the glue that holds our state together,” stated Miller He says that Texas leads the nation in exports of cattle, cotton, wool, mohair, hay, horses, sheep, and goats. In other areas of export, Miller reported that Texas is second or third in the nation.
Miller reported Laredo is the largest inland port in the United States. Twenty thousand trailer trucks cross the border engaged in commerce in one day along the Texas/Mexico border. This accounts for one billion dollars in trade.
The Agriculture Department is the consumer protection agency for the state as well as the overseer of weights and measures. When Miller first came into office, he launched an initiative that would correct unlicensed scales. “When I came into office, I found that 7 thousand businesses were using unlicensed scales.” The Agriculture Department also regulates pesticides both for home use and in agriculture.
“My biggest program is food and nutrition. I am responsible for 5 million school meals each day. We run the school breakfast 1
program, the school lunch program, the summer feeding program, the adult feeding program, nursing homes, and we help fund Meals on Wheels,” stated Miller.
“Under my leadership we have become the Chamber of Commerce for the state of Texas. Have you seen the Go Texan emblem on anything? If you shop at HEB, you will see the Texas with a circle around it. HEB is one of the biggest members of Go Texan because of all the food they sell that they make themselves. The program is set up to help small businesses, mom and pop businesses, to help market their products,” said Miller.
The Agriculture Department has four livestock export facilities along the Rio Grande and Miller has just completed one near the airport in Houston. He plans to build another facility near the DFW airport.
He remarked that the Texas Agriculture Department has a fulltime office in Venezuela because of the exports of bulls, stallions, and mares as well as other livestock products to that country. Miller travels around the world touting Texas products by marketing globally.
Miller does a daily 60-second closing market report which is shared with over 100 rural radio stations. He also has a more extensive report that is shared with over eight thousand farmers weekly across the state by email.
Miller is proud to announce that he is the only Agricultural Commissioner that has his own weekly TV show on RFD TV network. During this program, he showcases the best of Texas agriculture. He projects that the show impacts 55 million homes each week.
Miller’s most unusual marketing program is the Go Texan businesses who sponsor a NASCAR truck. Several Go Texan businesses sponsor the Number 22 Truck in the NASCAR series.
“I love this job, I do so much fun stuff,” stated Miller. He left a few minutes at the end of his presentation for the audience to ask questions.
On the regular meeting agenda, the club approved the minutes of the July meeting and the membership report.
President Skoglund reminded the group that the Spaghetti Lunch Tickets were now available to sell for the scholarship fundraiser on September 15th. Preparations for the meal would take place on September 14 beginning at 2:30 at the Silver Sage kitchen. The BCRW will provide water to special guests on November 12 for the Veterans’ Day parade and activities in town. The BCRW bylaws have been sent to Debra Harper, TFRW Vice President of Bylaws for approval.
The September 1 meeting of the club will be Voter Registration Training given by Gwenda Tschirhart.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller speaks to the Bandera Republican Women club last Thursday for their monthly meeting. The September 1 meeting of the club will be Voter Registration Training given by Gwenda Tschirhart.