Marketplace’s David Gura checked in with citrus grower Mark Wheeler, CFO of Wheeler Farms in Lake Placid, Fla.
What difficulties are facing Wheeler’s industry? For one, there’s citrus greening, a deadly tree disease. “We’re basically scouting aggressively for the little critters that spread the disease, the Asian citrus psyllid,” Wheeler says. “We’ve got the research foundations desperately looking for a cure.”
But it’s not just tree diseases Wheeler has to deal with, competition in the beverage aisle also makes things difficult. “It’s tough because a lot of times we’re dealing with stuff that’s, basically, colored sugar water that we’ve got to compete with,” Wheeler says. “And the inputs into those products are much cheaper than what OJ is.”