John Deere has paused production at its Davenport and Dubuque, Iowa, plants and is laying off 159 workers. The reduction follows layoffs of 105 workers in Dubuque earlier this year.
Both facilities manufacture construction and forestry products, which Deere had projected a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in net sales worldwide for that segment in February.
Deere’s manager of investment communication, Brent Norwood, said the company believed that in the agricultural sector North American farmers would likely remain cautious until exports to China begin to flow on the back of a new trade deal. As a result, Deere did not expect significant changes in the replacement cycle for farm equipment during fiscal year 2020.
However, Deere’s investment in precision ag, or the use of technology that allows farmers to move more precisely in their fields, has benefited customers seeking economic value for their work. Off the back of that, the company believes customers will increasingly opt for solutions that offer the highest levels of productivity, driving a better outcome for their operations and higher average selling prices for John Deere.
The company has also announced that its Chairman, Samuel R. Allen, has retired. He has been replaced by the company’s CEO, John C. May.
During his term, Allen led the company to record growth and success. Over his decade of leadership, the company expanded its customer base, increased its global footprint, and made major gains in innovation and precision technologies.
“This was also a time of unmatched financial success which included nine of the ten highest-earning years in company history,” May said.
“One of the most significant developments of the period was the emergence of precision technologies as a major factor in our industries. Sam established the Intelligent Solutions Group in 2012 to develop these technologies and help bring them to market,” May added. “Today products equipped with these advanced capabilities are making our customers far more productive while helping reshape Deere as a smart industrial company.”
Allen joined Deere as an industrial engineer in 1975 after graduating from Purdue University.