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Deere sets bar for global and domestic expansion

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Deere & Company is off to a fast start in 2011. That’s the word from the ag-giant’s top boss Samuel Allen. During the annual shareholders meeting in Moline, he set the bar for success even higher.

There’s a sense of optimism as Deere shareholders emerge from their annual meeting. After a record-setting first quarter, the company also performed solidly in a sluggish global economy last year. It’s now poised to balance expansion globally and closer to home.

“Even though there will be more growth overseas, there will continue to be growth here in the United States and in North America,” said Mike Stohlmeyer, a retired Deere executive who spent 41 years with the company.

Rising demand for farm equipment is a big factor. Across North America, large tractor and combine sales climbed by about 40% over the last three years. That’s a key source of sales and profits.

“It’s a great impact,” said Jim Bohnsack, chairman of the Rock Island County Board of Supervisors, who also spent 35 years at Deere & Company. “If we didn’t have Deere & Company, we would be in very, very bad shape. This is a great company.”

That optimism is fueling the future. Deere is stepping up its strategic plan. As Allen puts it, it means moving in the same general direction, but at a faster speed and higher altitude.

The company anticipates an unprecedented wave of opportunity that’s motivated by population growth and available money. It’s leading to major global investments to provide farm and construction equipment.

“We think the company can double by 2018,” said Deere Spokesman Ken Golden. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but this year has started well. Last year was a strong year.”

And Deere’s core values, from innovation to quality, show how its success continued during challenging times.

“Maybe some of the politicians could come to John Deere and learn a lesson,” said Deere retiree Jerry Miller.

Optimism from a Deere & Company legacy that continues to grow.