When Texans – mostly farmers and ranchers – sat down to write the state Constitution in the 1800s, they didn’t see the need for an elected agriculture commissioner.
That oversight was quickly remedied.
Texas’ agriculture, crops and cattle are known across the country and around the world. The state’s “Go Texan” campaign can be seen in grocery stores and TV adsacross the state: Why buy vegetables from California, when you can pick from that (noticeably labeled) batch from Texas?
But the office does more than sell the product; it also helps farmers and ranchers successfully grow it.
“If you’re a farmer or rancher, there’s always some kind of critter trying to get in your business,” says Hugh Brady, the director of UT’s Legislative Lawyering Clinic. “If you raise cotton, it’s boll weevils; if you’ve got cows, its brucellosis. I mean there’s always something threatening agriculture. And so, the office was kind of set up to deal with those things.”