John Deere Announces Major Layoffs in Iowa and Illinois Amid Shift to Mexico


John Deere, a leading agricultural equipment manufacturer, has announced significant layoffs across its U.S. operations, primarily affecting facilities in Iowa and Illinois. The company plans to relocate substantial portions of its production to a new facility in Ramos, Mexico, as part of its broader strategy to optimize its manufacturing processes and cut costs.

The latest round of layoffs was announced on June 5, impacting 120 workers at the Seeder and Cylinder plant in Moline, Illinois, effective June 28. This follows a May 20 announcement that 190 jobs would be cut at the Waterloo, Iowa plant​. Additionally, the Dubuque, Iowa plant will see its production of mid-frame skid steer loaders and compact track loaders moved to Mexico by 2026​​.

These moves are part of Deere’s efforts to address rising operational costs and declining market demand. The company is acquiring land in Ramos, Mexico, to build a new manufacturing facility that will be operational by 2026​. This facility will take over production currently done at the Dubuque Works, which will continue to manufacture other heavy equipment​​.

Deere’s workforce in Iowa has been significantly impacted by these changes. Besides the recent layoffs, the company announced indefinite layoffs for 494 employees at its Ottumwa, Iowa plant, effective June 29, with additional periodic layoffs affecting 195 employees over the coming months​​. The company has also implemented a hiring freeze and made adjustments to production and inventory levels as part of its cost-cutting measures​.

The economic backdrop to these decisions includes high interest rates and declining U.S. farm income, which have adversely affected Deere's financial performance. The company reported a 12% drop in worldwide net sales and revenue for the second quarter of 2024 compared to the same period the previous year. Deere's net income for fiscal 2024 is projected to be around $7 billion, down from $10.166 billion in 2023​.

John May, Deere's CEO, stated that these measures are necessary to align the company's workforce with its strategic priorities and ensure the efficiency of its operations across its global footprint​​. The company aims to eliminate low-value tasks and reduce redundancy, which unfortunately means parting with some of its workforce.

This restructuring highlights the challenges Deere faces in maintaining profitability amid fluctuating market conditions and rising costs. While the company is positioning itself for future growth, the immediate impact on its workforce and local economies in Iowa and Illinois is significant.

The move has drawn criticism from various quarters, including the United Auto Workers union and political figures who have called for intervention to protect American jobs​​. As the company moves forward with its plans, the full impact on its employees and the communities they live in remains to be seen.


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