Living Legends

ROBERT BEHR

CEO, CITRUS WORLD, LAKE WALES

Citrus World, a juice-processing co-op, is owned by 14 citrus grower organizations representing about 50,000 grove acres. It’s among the top five retailers of orange juice products in the country. It and its subsidiaries process and market citrus juices under the Florida’s Natural brand. Once the chief economist for the Florida Department of Citrus, Behr has been CEO of Citrus World since 2015. He owns and operates citrus groves himself. “Being a grower and a manager has helped me understand more thoroughly the challenges our industry faces,” he told the Lakeland Ledger.

Behr developed a loan program to encourage farmers to plant trees to offset the losses after greening decimated the citrus crop. The program has led to the planting of more than 1.4 million orange trees. In search of additional revenue sources, Behr has steered the co-op into third-party deals and products, including flavored iced teas.

Behr, who prefers to work behind the scenes, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a doctorate from the University of Florida. In 2019, he was honored with the Citrus Achievement Award by the Florida Citrus Mutual trade association at its annual conference.

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