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U.S. Farm Income Drops 34% Over Last Year;
Lay-Offs Sweep Through
The Agriculture Machinery Sector

Sept. 11, 2015 (EIRNS)—Income from farming in the United States this year is falling at a rate to put it 34 percent below 2014. This reflects low farm commodity prices, particularly grains and oil seeds, which have been running far lower than the farmer’s costs of production. Loans to farmers, to cover just operations—not capital improvements nor land—are rising accordingly. Farmers have radically cut back on purchasing new equipment. Machinery dealerships are struggling to stay in business.

Agriculture equipment manufacturers are imposing sweeping lay-offs. The top two mega-firms—John Deere (head office in Moline,Illinois) and CNH Industrial America (head office in London, UK, producers of Case IH, New Holland, and other brands) have been down-scaling for months, to try to stay in line with the decline. Orders for construction equipment have not made up the difference.

Deere & Co., earlier this month, announced lay-offs at its Quad Cities (Illinois/Iowa) complex to begin Sept. 18, including 150 workers from its Harvester Works in East Moline; 30 people at Deere Davenport will be out of work as of Oct. 2. They make forestry and construction equipment. These lay-offs come on top of 1,000 Deere workers laid off since October, 2014, at Waterloo, Iowa.

Deere (total) revenue was down 20 percent year-on-year, in its last quarter. Net sales from its equipment operations were $6.84 billion for the third quarter and $19.84 billion for nine months, compared with $8.72 billion and $24.92 billion, respectively, for the same periods last year.

CNH will cut its workforce by 70 people in October at its Grand Island, Nebraska manufacturing center. Earlier this summer, 130 jobs were cut.

Layoffs are underway at less well known plants. In late June, at Kinze Manufacturing (crop equipment, especially heavy carts), 215 were laid off, from its 850 workforce. The company had earlier tried a 30 hour work-week, to scale down, but that wasn’t enough. In fall, 2014, 21 workers had been let go.