Officials from the Quad Cities-based the John Deere company expressed optimism for record earnings this year at their annual shareholders meeting today in Moline. Chairman and C.E.O. Bob Lane said Deere plans to "seize the economic tailwinds" created by a rise in the global middle class.
Ken Golden, the company’s spokesman, says the tailwinds are about more people needing to eat in the world, biofuels and construction, positive things that are happening that will require Deere equipment. Golden says the company is well positioned to take advantage of the tailwinds. In his prepared statement, Lane said the company also turned a profit in weak markets by cutting production in the construction and forestry division, which has been hurt by the current housing slump.
Golden says that’s a new way of doing business for Deere and Company. Golden says the company has historically not been in a position to make money when the markets were low, but now he says with consolidated factories and better ways of doing business, they can respond to tough markets and become more profitable.
During a short video, shareholders also saw some high-tech innovations the company is developing–such as the un-manned "R-Gator"–a four-wheel drive golf cart for the Army which can detect road-side bombs. Deere is also designing G-P-S-guided tractors and combines which can plow fields on their own–without a driver.