“The call Ricke Kress and every other citrus grower in Florida dreaded came while he was driving.

“‘It’s here’ was all his grove manager needed to say to force him over to the side of the road.

“The disease that sours oranges and leaves them half green, already ravaging citrus crops across the world, had reached the state’s storied groves. Mr. Kress, the president of Southern Gardens Citrus, in charge of two and a half million orange trees and a factory that squeezes juice for Tropicana and Florida’s Natural, sat in silence for several long moments.

“‘O.K.,’ he said finally on that fall day in 2005, ‘let’s make a plan.’”