After eight months of defending deep fryers and championing cupcakes, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is taking his agricultural prowess abroad.

The commissioner left Wednesday morning on an 11-day trip to China with stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Lanzhou, according to his office. 

“There has long been an international dialogue between Texas and our counterparts across the globe," Miller said in a statement. "The goal of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s visit to China is to increase trade opportunities for Texas producers, which translates into dollars added to the Texas economy.” 

China is Texas’ fourth largest trading partner — 2014 agricultural and livestock exports from Texas to China were valued at $4.8 billion. Tapping into the Chinese market can help expand the state’s “agricultural footprint” and grow the economy, the state agriculture department said in a statement.

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Trade is a priority for Miller, who said in an interview with The Texas Tribune in April that he had accelerated international trade and beefed up marketing for the state’s agriculture during his first 100 days in office.

According to an itinerary released by his office, the China trip will include an excursion to the U.S. embassy in China, a visit with an animal husbandry group to talk horse, swine and cattle genetics and a meeting with the U.S. Grains Council to discuss Texas trade.

Miller will be joined by a delegation of Texas pecan growers to learn about China's tree nut trade and will take in the U.S. embassy in Beijing with a delegation from Texas A&M University.

The trip, which has been in the works since February, was planned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after an agricultural delegation from China visited the United States on a similar trade mission. 

Disclosure: Texas A&M University is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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