John Deere, the man, was a pioneer blacksmith who developed the first commercially successful self-cleaning steel plow. Born in 1804 in Rutland, VT, Deere left that state in 1836 and settled in Illinois. He forged the beginnings of the company that still bears his name, turned it over to his son Charles in 1858, and died at the age of 82 in 1886.
Today, Deere & Company is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for agriculture, forestry, construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. Originating in Grand Detour, IL and based since 1848 in Moline, IL, Deere & Company also provides financial services and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. The company has operations in 22 states and 28 countries worldwide, with more than $28 billion in annual revenue.
Deere & Company’s impact on the Iowa economy is significant. The company today employs more than 13,800 Iowans and has more than 12,800 retirees in the state. It has 12 major Iowa business operations in Ankeny, Davenport, Dubuque, Johnston, Ottumwa, Urbandale and Waterloo.
Additionally, Deere has 1,501 contracts with various Iowa suppliers totaling more than $1.8 billion. One hundred twenty-one John Deere dealerships across the state contribute daily to their state and local economies through employment, goods and services purchased, and taxes paid. Since 2000 the company has invested more than $371 million in its Iowa facilities and created or retained more than 1,700 jobs.
Deere & Company also has a significant impact on the lives of Iowans through its John Deere Foundation, support for the United Way, and responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources. The company committed $1 million for flood relief in Iowa in 2008, and around the world its employees and corporate gifts support a wide variety of causes and organizations.
Accepting the Iowa Business Hall of Fame honor on behalf of Deere & Company is CEO Samuel R. Allen.