The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide Questionnaire. Miller is running for re-election in the March 6th Republican primary against Jim Hogan and Trey Blocker. The winner of the Republican nomination will meet Democrat Kim Olson in November.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, 2015 to present
Member Texas House of Representatives, 2001-2013
Chairman, Texas of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Livestock
Chairman. Texas House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety
Nine-time World Champion Calf Roper
Lifetime Member, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Secretary, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Incoming President, Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Incoming Vice President, Southern U.S. Trade Association
Owner, Sid Miller Quarter Horses, Rocking M Ranch and
Miller Nursery and Tree Company
Former Vocational Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor
Eighth-Generation Texas Farmer and Rancher
A+ Rating, National Rifle Association
A+Rating, Texas State Rifle Association
Pro-Life Legislator of the Year, Texas Right to Life
Taxpayer Champion, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
Champion for Free Enterprise, Texas Assn. of Business
A-Rated, Citizens for a Sound Economy
What is your educational background?
AA Degree, Cisco Junior College; BS in Agriculture Education with Honors, Tarleton State University
Why did you decide to run for agriculture commissioner?
I am proud of my record of leadership at the Texas Department of Agriculture where I have streamlined operations, increased services and response times, and done more with less. I want to build upon these successes and continue to market Texas agriculture commodities and products around the globe, protect Texas consumers from those who wish to rip-them off by strengthening our consumer protection division, and continue to enhance our school nutrition program making School Lunches Great again and returning more local control to schools, administrators, teachers, and most importantly to parents.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I have been preparing for the job I now hold all of my life. My experiences as an 8th generation Texas farmer and rancher, vocational ag teacher and FFA advisor, legislator, Ag and Livestock Committee Chairman, Trump advisor, and as our state's 12th Commissioner of Agriculture make me uniquely qualified to seek reelection and to continue to serve the people of our great state.
What should the Agriculture Commissioner's role be in advocating for farmers and ranchers in Texas?
As Commissioner of Agriculture I serve as the voice of Texas farmers, ranchers, ag producers, agribusiness owners, and consumers. I have carried the interests of our agriculture community to both our state and national capitals and from the Governor's Mansion to the White House. When I first took office, my biggest challenge was fighting back against an abusive and overreaching federal government. As a result, I was forced to sue the EPA and the Corps of Engineers and had to fight against the BLM, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered Species Act. With the election of Donald Trump as President, I now work with, and not against, the federal government. I helped create the Trump Agriculture Advisory Committee and today I serve as Co-Chair. We advise the President and his administration on issues ranging from private property rights and trade to border security and 2nd Amendment and NAFTA. I was on the short list to be appointed by President Trump as US Secretary of Agriculture and I remain a trusted advisor to the President, the USDA Secretary, and others in the administration.
Are there any services currently offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture that you would like to see eliminated? Are there any services you would like to see added? If so, please list those services.
Do you plan to advocate any issues to the Texas Legislature? If so, which issues?
I plan to continue to advocate on behalf of Texas Ag Producers and against any measure or legislation that would be harmful to those in the agriculture industry that are responsible for one of every seven Texas jobs.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
I am endorsed by Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and over 100 of the most conservative groups and leaders in Texas, as well as almost every agriculture related organization that has made an endorsement in this race.
Do you have any aspirations for higher office?
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
When I first took office, the TDA was not fulfilling its proper role. Today it is. Fuel pump inspections were being done only once every eight years. Today, we inspect every pump at least once every two years. We have added a credit card skimmer inspection program, and we reduced the number of fuel inspectors by sixteen. The Organic Certification Program had a two and half year waiting list. That was fixed in ninety days and today there is no waiting list. I repealed every mandate that previous Commissioners had placed on the Texas School Nutrition Program and returned control back to local schools. Today, we are making school lunches great again. I discovered that many Texas businesses were unregistered and operating illegally. As a result, I initiated “Operation Maverick” which rounded-up illegal operators and registered over 7,000 illegal scales in the state. I canceled our logistics contract used to schedule our inspectors saving taxpayers $300,000. I reorganized our inspection program so that today our inspectors drive 750,000 fewer miles per year while, at the same time, they are performing 40 to 60% more inspections each day. Prior to my taking office, Texas taxpayers were subsidizing 50% of the registration costs for farmers and businesses. I took the hard stance of raising fees forcing farmers and business to pay their own way. In doing so, we eliminated taxpayer subsidies completely and, as a result, the TDA is now a 100% cost recovery agency and pays its own way with no taxpayer funded appropriation.