John Deere cuts 910 ag factory workers, adds 220 to construction equipment facilities

Updated Jan 26, 2015

john-deere-logoJohn Deere announced today that it would layoff 910 employees across five agricultural equipment factories in Iowa and Illinois as the company cuts costs in response to an ongoing global farming slowdown.

The heavy equipment manufacturer said it would layoff 565 from three plants in Waterloo, Iowa, as well as 300 in Ankeny, Iowa and 45 at its Harvester Works plant in East Moline, Illinois.

The layoffs will take effect at different dates for each location, beginning in early February through late March.

Another 500 employees are being put on an “extended inventory adjustment shutdown” at the company’s Seeding and Cylinder facility in Moline. Those employees can expect to be back to work in late summer, the company says.

Deere saw profit fall 11 percent in fiscal year 2014 with sales dipping 5 percent to $35 billion. The company says the farming slowdown has mostly impacted large farm equipment, “including many of our most profitable models,” Deere CEO and chairman Samuel R. Allen said back in December.

The company expects ag and turf equipment sales to fall another 20 percent in 2015. Thus, it started ag factory layoffs back in August by cutting more than 600 workers at four locations in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.

The lone bright spot for the company has been its construction and forestry division which saw a 23-percent jump in sales during the fourth quarter and a 71-percent increase in operating profit during 2014 to $648 million. Because of that, the company also announced today that it would be adding 220 jobs at its Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa, facilities where this type of equipment is made.

The company said nearly all of those positions were filled by those Deere employees that had been laid off in August.