Tribpedia: Department Of Agriculture

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is the state agency charged with overseeing agricultural business and collecting statistics on crops and livestock. The agency was established by the Texas Legislature in 1907.

TDA is based in Austin, Texas and has five regional offices, four satellite offices, seven laboratories and six livestock export facilities.

The commissioner of agriculture, who is elected ...

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.

Despite Rocky Start, Agriculture Chief Defends Record

A collection of unflattering headlines has lawmakers and one of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's predecessors questioning whether the world-champion calf roper was ready to steer a billion-dollar agency. But Miller is brushing off the criticism.

 

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Sid Miller Backed, Then Nixed, Ag Agency Remodel

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.

Rick Perry in 1991 at Uncle Ben's rice offices in Houston to promote his Make It Texas initiative. The program was designed to promote the agricultural processing industry with loan guarantees, but a high failure rate sank the program and triggered a $14.7 million bailout in 2009.
Rick Perry in 1991 at Uncle Ben's rice offices in Houston to promote his Make It Texas initiative. The program was designed to promote the agricultural processing industry with loan guarantees, but a high failure rate sank the program and triggered a $14.7 million bailout in 2009.

Perry's Embrace of Tax Subsidies Could Haunt '16 Bid

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been promoting tax subsidies for private businesses since the early 1990s. But the programs have rarely lived up to their promise, and a series of damning audits could hurt his expected 2016 presidential run.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller gives away cupcakes at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.

Commissioner Gets Cupcake Policy Wrong, Combs Says

When Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller granted amnesty to cupcakes on Monday, he pointed out that state rules that once banned such treats from classrooms were repealed last summer. But cupcakes have been allowed for a decade.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller declares cupcake amnesty at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller declares cupcake amnesty at a press conference on Jan. 12, 2015.

Agriculture Commissioner Grants Amnesty to Cupcakes

In his first official act as Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller granted full amnesty to cupcakes. Miller was seeking to reassure Texas parents that it's legal to bring cupcakes and other treats to school — and that he'll protect that right.

 

 

A field of corn in the Texas Panhandle
A field of corn in the Texas Panhandle

Texas Sees Significant Decline in Rural Land

Texas is losing more farm, ranch and forest land than any other state, according to recent data. That has implications for water resources, which scientists say are better retained by undeveloped land. Use these maps to see the changes for individual counties.

Farmers in the community of Mumford worry that if Union Pacific Railroad acquires the rest of the land it needs to build a new rail yard in the area, the familiar landscape of cotton fields off of FM 50 in the fertile Brazos River Valley will change forever.
Farmers in the community of Mumford worry that if Union Pacific Railroad acquires the rest of the land it needs to build a new rail yard in the area, the familiar landscape of cotton fields off of FM 50 in the fertile Brazos River Valley will change forever.

Farmers Ask Officials to Stop Rail Yard

As they run out of legal maneuvers, residents in a small community fighting against the potential construction of a rail yard on farmland with nutrient-rich soil are now asking lawmakers for support in stopping the project.

School children at Cantu Elementary in San Juan, Texas, eat their free breakfast, Wednesday April 24, 2013.
School children at Cantu Elementary in San Juan, Texas, eat their free breakfast, Wednesday April 24, 2013.

Ag Candidates Weigh In on School Lunch Program

One of the Texas agriculture commissioner's biggest jobs is running the federally funded school breakfast and lunch program. Read what the Republican and Democratic candidates for agriculture commissioner have to say about the program.