Deere Cuts Jobs in Illinois, Iowa

Deere Continues Cutting Jobs in Midwest Plants; Smithfield Also Announces Plant Closing

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Deere tractors on rail cars waiting to be shipped out of a Deere & Co. plant in Waterloo, Iowa. Deere announced Monday it would cut another 813 workers at plants in Illinois and Iowa in the coming months. Deere had already announced more than 800 job cuts in Iowa earlier this year. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Deere & Co. on Monday posted it would lay off as many as 813 workers from its plants in Illinois and Iowa.

Deere reported to the Illinois Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) website that 503 workers would be laid off at its plant in East Moline, Illinois, starting as early as Sept. 20. The Iowa WARN website also showed 211 jobs in Davenport, Iowa, and 99 jobs in Dubuque, Iowa, would be cut by the end of August.

Deere already cut 835 jobs earlier this year from other operation centers in Iowa, the Des Moines Register stated.

The tractor manufacturer did not issue a statement on its cuts, but did state to Fox Business news, "We can confirm Deere leadership recently communicated that rising operational costs and declining market demand requires enterprise-wide changes in how work gets done to achieve our goals and best position the company for the future."

For Deere workers it's a dramatic shift from the fall of 2021 when members of the United Auto Workers International went on strike with more than 10,000 workers across the Midwest. The UAW eventually won higher pay, pension and health care benefits in the negotiations with Deere.

In its remarks to Fox Business, Deere suggested the company would potentially shift operations to other locations with lower labor costs. "This includes optimizing our factories for future products, making our operations more efficient and taking advantage of locations in the U.S. and globally with a growing labor force."

In May, Deere reported $2.37 billion in net income for the quarter, which was down 17% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Deere reported worldwide sales had dropped 9% in six months.

The cuts come as USDA reports net farm income will drop in 2024 by more than 25% to $116.1 billion. Receipts for crops are projected to fall 6.3% for the year while overall production expenses for farmers are expected to grow 3.8% for the year.


Smithfield Foods on Monday also announced it would close a facility in Altoona, Iowa, affecting 314 workers. The Altoona facility is primarily used for ham boning, the company stated.

Smithfield said the company would consolidate production from the Altoona facility at other plants. Smithfield employs nearly 4,000 people in Iowa.

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Chris Clayton