One of Earth’s greatest gifts to man is fertile land for growing crops; some of man’s most useful inventions are the tools that make that land possible to maintain. John Deere has been a major player in the development of agricultural equipment for more than 180 years, but they’re far from stuck in the past.
A Modern Approach to Classic Values
Farming is, perhaps, one of the world’s oldest professions. Technological advancements have made a livelihood by agriculture easier, and John Deere has played a major role in pushing those advancements since the 19th century.
Today, the company employs the same core values it did all those years ago at its founding: integrity, quality, commitment, and innovation. As the world of farming technology advances, so must John Deere, but not without losing sight of the values that have made the company so successful.
Local Concerns Birth Innovation
In 1837, Illinois farmers complained to blacksmith John Deere that their plows had been designed for Eastern soil; the rich, black earth of the Midwest simply clung to their equipment. In response, John Deere fashioned a new type of plow, designed specifically for prairie soil. Ten years later, the former blacksmith opened his own plow factory in Moline, Illinois to meet growing demand for his product.
By 1883, John Deere had expanded their offerings to include four more items of farming equipment. Over the next 100 years, the industry expands rapidly to encompass larger, more complex machinery. John Deere began developing tractors, combines, balers, and other machinery.
In addition to larger farming equipment, John Deere also expanded into lawn & garden and recreational items, like snowmobiles. Now, John Deere has instituted plants all over the world, bought additional brands, and continues to forge ahead in innovating new technology.
Growing The Business of Growth
Despite being one of the earliest companies to the scene of industrial farming equipment, John Deere is not without competitors. Some of the main brands with which John Deere contends are Case IH, Kubota, and New Holland.
Despite taking a bite out of global profits, these companies lack the same experience (the oldest of them was founded in 1890) and brand recognition as John Deere, making it difficult for them to keep up in terms of revenue.
Sponsorships and Trustworthiness
John Deere gains national recognition by sponsoring such somewhat local events as the John Deere Classic, a part of the PGA tour won by Dylan Frittelli in 2019.
Perhaps more far reaching than any such sponsorships is John Deere’s perceived commitment to everyday farmers. The wide adoption of their products allows farmers, who generally form a sense of regional community through their shared profession, some peace of mind in choosing Deere products.
The company further asserts its position as a resource in the industry by continuously releasing videos aimed at educating farmers and laymen alike.
Outrage Over Rights
Because of the increasing amount of technology involved with farm equipment, John Deere began asking farmers to sign away their rights to repair their own John Deere equipment in 2017, a move that sparked outrage.
John Deere justified the practice with the possibility of equipment breaking when subjected to untrained repairs.
In any case, these distinctly modern concerns don’t appear to have affected John Deere’s bottom line. The company rose to 87 on the Fortune 500 in 2019, jumping 15 spots from the previous year.
If global rankings aren’t enough to convince you, just take a drive around the rural heartland in the spring or fall and count the number of John Deere tractors you pass in fields to be convinced that this brand is here to stay.