Retired military officers were briefed by Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller Friday at the Shilo Inn in Killeen during a meeting of the Central Texas Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
As an eighth generation Texas farmer and rancher, Miller is the 12th commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture and has devoted his life to promoting Texas agriculture, rural communities and Texas.
The former agriculture teacher and school board member said he is committed to fighting childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles for Texas schoolchildren.
“Childhood obesity is an epidemic,” Miller said. “We started farm fresh initiatives to get fresh fruits and vegetables in (Texas) schools.”
Miller’s creation of Farm Fresh Fridays and other farm-to-school initiatives resulted in a $14 million increase in the amount of Texas products purchased by schools.
“The items they buy fresh and served fresh,” Miller said. “There are no salts or other additives in the food.”
According to the Square Meals website, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a federally assisted invitation-only program providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools during the school day. The program helps schools create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience, and increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
Miller also spoke about a consumer protection initiative to round up businesses that fail to register their commercial scales with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Since the launch of this initiative, known as Operation Maverick, registrations have increased by 35 percent and more than 2,000 previously unregistered businesses are now monitored by the department to ensure consumers are protected.
And since taking office in 2015, Miller has reshaped field operations to maximize efficiency for Texas taxpayers, he said. This included increasing the number of consumer protection inspections by 183 percent while decreasing the miles traveled by agriculture department inspectors by more than half a million a year.