EXCLUSIVE: Meet The Texas Rodeo Cowboy Advising Trump On Agriculture

Thomas Phippen | Reporter

Sid Miller, Texas agriculture commissioner, will advise Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on agriculture as part of a special advisory committee.

The Trump campaign will announce the full agriculture advisory committee sometime this week, but Miller revealed his involvement as national co-chair in an interview with radio host Chad Hasty on Friday.

“When he gets elected, and the day he takes office, America will get our respect back around the world because his personality is, ‘If you hit me, I’m going to hit you twice,'” Miller said in the interview.

Miller is a lifelong Texan, a rancher, farmer, teacher and rodeo champion. He knows agriculture, and believes Trump will is the best bet for agriculture in Texas, as well as American farmers.

“Donald Trump will be great for agriculture,” Miller told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an exclusive interview. “We will have less regulation, we will have good supreme court justices and we will make better deals.”

For agriculture to thrive, Miller thinks we should solve the problems of  federal overreach and excessive regulation. Miller wrote about one example, involving both of federal regulations and trade, that affects agriculture producers in a Jan. 2016 opinion piece. “When [imported] shrimp arrives in the U.S., only two percent are inspected by the Food and Drug Administration,” Miller wrote in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune. “That means the majority makes it into our grocery stores, thereby forcing out higher quality, wild-caught Gulf shrimp.”

Agriculture is “our strongest export,” Miller told TheDCNF, but right now, we’re not exporting enough agricultural products. “As American farmers and ranchers, we feed people all over the world,” Miller said. “But we can’t feed the world if we sustain the trade deficits with China, Mexico and other countries,” Miller says. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, is a free trade deal, but not a fair trade deal, according to Miller.

“What really excites me about Trump is that he’s for free trade, but he’s also for fair trade,” Miller told TheDCNF. To fix the trade deficits and achieve simultaneously free and fare trade, Miller suggests we have patience in the event Trump becomes president.

“It may be a little rough starting out, but hey, you gotta start somewhere,” Miller told TheDCNF. Miller believes Trump can deliver solid trade policy because his “whole legacy is that he can make good deals.”

Miller is a former teacher, an 8th generation rancher farmer and rancher, and the 12th Texas agriculture commissioner, according to his official biography. He is was named the 2004 World Champion of Calf Roping by the United State Calf Roping Association. He won the election to lead Texas Department of Agriculture in 2014 with 58 percent of the vote and endorsements from the likes of rock legend Ted Nugent and former Texas governor Rick Perry

In his first months as agriculture secretary, he overturned the state’s so-called cupcake mandate that prevented parents from packing certain sweets in their kids’ lunches. “The Texas Department of Agriculture has abolished all rules and guidelines that would stop a parent from bringing cupcakes, cookies or snacks to school,” Miller said at the time.

“If people think it’s cupcakes versus vegetables, it’s not,” Miller told the Houston Chronicle. “What it is, is local control and personal responsibility and freedom and less Big Brother in your face telling you how to run your life.”

Miller’s time leading the Texas Department of Agriculture has not been free of scandal.

Miller drew the ire of Democrats across the country when he posted a Facebook photo of an atomic bomb, with text reading, “Japan has been at peace with the US since August 9, 1945. It’s time we made peace with the Muslim world.”

He came under criticism earlier this year when budget records show he spent nearly $2,000 state funds to pay for a Feb., 2015 trip to compete in a rodeo in Jackson, Miss., the Houston Chronicle reported. Miller repaid the funds to the state a few months later. He won an $880 prize in the calf roping contest at the rodeo.

The Texas Department of Public Safety opened an investigation into the Miss. trip, as well as another trip Miller paid for with state funds, when liberal advocacy group Progress Texas went after Miller. Miller used state money for a trip to Oklahoma City, Ok. He claimed at first that the trip was for a meeting with the Oklahoma lawmakers, but later said that meeting never happened. He was actually receiving a rare treatment called a “Jesus shot,” which is only available from one doctor in Oklahoma City, according to the Houston Chronicle. Miller later repaid the $1,120 spent on the trip.

Of the negative press and the allegations against him, Miller said they were “attacks of the far left,” and were little more than a distraction.

“It’s just a reach, a political ploy,” he told TheDCNF.

Miller also served in the Texas state house for seven terms between 2000 and 2014, where he was the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock.

When Miller was named 2004 World Champion of Calf Roping by the United State Calf Roping Association, he received official congratulations from his colleagues in the form of Texas House Resolution No. 1287, which said: “Whether in the saddle or on the house floor, Representative Sid Miller has lassoed the lasting respect and admiration of all who are privileged to know him, and at this time it is indeed a pleasure to tip our hats in his direction.”

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