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 ...

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. 

Field Unit Manager Stephen Daniel of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program checks a boll weevil trap located adjacent to a cotton field in Mustang Ridge, Texas, Aug. 14, 2013.  Daniel uses a TBWEP pickup truck as a mobile office where he weekly checks dozens of traps for the pest insect outside of Austin.
Field Unit Manager Stephen Daniel of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program checks a boll weevil trap located adjacent to a cotton field in Mustang Ridge, Texas, Aug. 14, 2013. Daniel uses a TBWEP pickup truck as a mobile office where he weekly checks dozens of traps for the pest insect outside of Austin.

South Texas Farmers Making Gains in Fight Against Boll Weevils

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, eradication efforts aimed at the boll weevil — an insect that can destroy the yields of cotton plants — are benefiting in part from the current drought.

Evan Smith talks with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples during a TribLive event on May 2, 2013.
Evan Smith talks with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples during a TribLive event on May 2, 2013.

TribLive: A Conversation with Todd Staples

Todd Staples has served as Texas' agriculture commissioner since 2007. Before that, he served as a state representative for House District 11 from 1997-2000 and as a state senator for Senate District 3 from 2001-2005. He has announced his intention to run for lieutenant governor in 2014. A former rancher and businessman, Staples graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics.

This event was recorded before a live audience in Austin on May 2, 2013. Our TribLive events feature discussion with our honored guests followed by questions from the audience. For more information on Tribune events, please visit http://www.texastribune.org/events/.

Livestock from Licon Dairy, on Feb. 19, 2013, outside of Fort Hancock, Texas, in Hudspeth County. The dairy farm had 42 acres and approximately 40 heifers.
Livestock from Licon Dairy, on Feb. 19, 2013, outside of Fort Hancock, Texas, in Hudspeth County. The dairy farm had 42 acres and approximately 40 heifers.

Bill Could Bring Dairy Farming Back to El Paso

State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, wants to bring dairy farming back to her district by repealing a decade-old ban on the practice, the result of longstanding concerns over bovine tuberculosis. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is abandoning the use of hot-iron branding and moving towards the use of ear tags for the identification of cattle.

Beef Stakes

The Texas economy is churning out record job numbers, but the $7.5 billion cattle industry isn’t doing too hot — or rather, it’s too hot.

Victor Elizando and Noe Obregon rest in the shade during a visit to the farmland Obregon used to tend before the USDA's discriminatory loan practices put him out of business.
Victor Elizando and Noe Obregon rest in the shade during a visit to the farmland Obregon used to tend before the USDA's discriminatory loan practices put him out of business.

Drought Deepens Worries Over Aging Farmer Population

The U.S. is losing a generation of family farmers that may not be replaced, according to national agriculture statistics. And as Mose Buchele of KUT News reports for StateImpact Texas, the drought may be exacerbating that trend in Texas.