In late February, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller bucked a federal report on dietary guidelines, claiming that the report’s recommendations are unfounded and that individuals, not bureaucrats, knew best how to feed themselves and their children.
Commissioner Miller was, rightfully, defending the liberties of individuals to make their own choices on how to fuel themselves and their families, and he was also, rightfully, defending the interests of Texas’ ranching community.
What the Commissioner might have missed, however, was on seizing the larger opportunity to underscore his leadership role for Texans when it comes to championing a healthy lifestyle and nutrition plan, and showcase the outstanding programs already in place in Texas.
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner is uniquely positioned to showcase the many healthy food choices offered by farmers and ranchers across the Lone Star State. While Texas remains the top beef-producing state in the nation, it is also a high-volume producer of wheat, various rice crops, peanuts and pecans, soybeans, a host of citrus and other fruit, even vegetables like cabbage. With a state that produces such an array of locally grown products, being a cheerleader for these products is an easy win.
In addition to championing Texas farming, the Agriculture Commissioner has a built-in platform for helping Texans live a healthy lifestyle. The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition division is a part of the agency that serves millions of Texas across the socioeconomic and demographic spectrum.
With farm to school programs, as well as the Healthy Community Network that unites local elected officials from across Texas with best practices for a healthy community, Texas Agriculture is well positioned to be the torch bearer for a healthier Texas. According to the Food and Nutrition division, all of these efforts can be summed up by the “3Es” of healthy living: Education, Exercise and Eating Right.