The fertile land south of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee is perfect for growing sugar cane. It’s where U.S. Sugar Corporation, the largest producer of cane sugar in the U.S., has operated since the 1930s.
Bob Buker, president and CEO, describes U.S. Sugar as “straightforward” and his team as “hardworking and honest — putting in long hours. It’s not an easy job, but everybody likes it.”
Wells Fargo provides treasury management, financing, and investment banking services to the company.
“Our business is seasonal,” says Elaine Wood, chief financial officer of U.S. Sugar. “During our production time, we need additional working capital — and Wells Fargo understands that and helped scale to meet the needs we have during the peak times.”
Agriculture is important to the U.S. economy, and it’s important to Wells Fargo, says Neal Crapo, head the Eastern division of the National Food & Agribusiness Division. In 2013, Wells Fargo expanded its focus on agriculture with an Eastern office, which serves growers and producers east of the Mississippi, like U.S. Sugar.
Neal adds that although farmers grow different crops in the East compared to the West, many of the challenges facing farmers are the same: shipping costs, global competition, food safety, and quality.