After some tough financial times, Deere and Company reports a rebound for the fiscal first quarter. The Quad Cities-based maker of agricultural and construction equipment saw net income rise 50-percent to 56-million dollars, according to spokesman Greg Derrick. Although the agricultural outlook weakened during the first quarter, Derrick says Deere saw a surge in sales which he attributes to an enthusiastic customer response to the product line.Derrick says the ag economy is steady, although it’s holding at a much lower level compared to a few years ago. He’s optimistic about the company’s opportunities in 2001.Despite ongoing challenges in the global ag markets, retail sales of Deere farm equipment are expected to increase this year. Moline, Illinois-based Deere is one of eastern Iowa’s largest employers with major factories in the Davenport and Waterloo areas.