Trump eyes top Texas MAGA disciple for USDA chief

By Meredith Lee Hill | 04/12/2024 12:10 PM EDT

The former — and possibly future — president has also discussed several less controversial, but still very conservative, picks with more policy expertise.

Sid Miller speaks while holding a cowboy hat in the air.

Commissioner of Agriculture of Texas Sid Miller speaks during a 2024 election campaign rally held by former President Donald Trump in Waco, Texas, on March 25, 2023. Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump is considering naming a former rodeo cowboy turned bomb-throwing Texas agriculture commissioner to lead the Agriculture Department if he wins the White House.

Sid Miller, a MAGA loyalist, has warred with agriculture interests and threatened to “hunt” moderate “RINO” Republicans back home, including those who won reelection in 2024 or, as Miller put it, “slipped the noose.” And he has been investigated, but not charged, for misusing state funds for travel to a rodeo. His former political consultant is also set to face trial this summer on theft and bribery charges in a scheme involving hemp licenses from Miller’s department.

Nevertheless, Trump has indicated to some allies that Miller is a leading prospect for the top post at USDA, according to two people familiar with recent conversations Trump has had about his second-term plans, who were granted anonymity to discuss the private talks. For the Agriculture Department — and food and agriculture policy, writ large — Miller’s nomination would represent a seismic shift.


As secretary, Miller would likely oversee attempts to claw back billions of dollars the Biden administration has dedicated to fighting climate change in agriculture, and to shrink the size of the country’s largest nutrition programs for low-income Americans. He could also play a key role in shaping the next farm bill — a $1.5 trillion legislative package that determines agriculture, nutrition and rural policy — should the current Congress end up punting it into 2025. And if Miller’s record in Texas is any indication, he’d struggle to find compromise with dissenters — from either party.