SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Mission-based Texas Citrus Mutual and Texas Vegetable Association chose two active leaders in the produce industry as their annual award recipients.

Texas citrus, vegetable groups recognize industry leadersThe Texas Citrus Mutual Special Award recipient is Lloyd Miller, longtime sales manager for Edinburg-based Healds Valley Farms.

Miller, who grew up in the citrus and vegetable industries, was introduced as a no-nonsense salesman that “buyers are confident in because of his truthfulness” and candor.

“This award really is special,” Miller said. “It’s special coming from the members of the industry who have already received it.”

The Texas Vegetable Association’s Award of Merit went to a man known for his humor and a dauntless approach to business. Bruce Frasier, president of Carrizo Springs-based Dixondale Farms, sees opportunities and takes advantage. The company’s transplant onion business grew from supplying commercial businesses to a thriving home delivery business over the past several years, eventually shipping 100,000 packages to small gardeners annually.

Frasier also saw opportunity to build his brand of Texas cantaloupes when many producers were pulling back operations after last season’s listeria outbreak from Colorado, and the ensuing consumer backlash.

A strong and active proponent for the industry, Frasier is outspoken about immigration and labor reform and encouraged other industry members to join with the Texas Vegetable Association’s efforts.

“It’s important for us to continue to get the word out,” Frasier said.

The awards were presented at the annual Texas Produce Convention at the Grand Hyatt Aug. 17.

The citrus and vegetable groups co-sponsor the event with the former Texas Produce Association, which changed its name to the Texas International Produce Association this month. The name change reflects the group's focus on Texas and Mexico crops and issues affecting trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

Along with the name change, the association announced the addition of Bret Erickson as senior vice president. President John McClung has plans to step down in a few months.