Deere shareholders get upbeat assessment at annual meeting

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Deere & Company's 175th year is off to a good start. The Moline-based ag giant is raising its dividend for the 10th time in eight years. The company also posted record first quarter earnings just two weeks ago.

There are smiles and handshakes as Deere & Company's Chairman and CEO Sam Allen steps from the shareholders meeting. He offers an upbeat assessment, saying there's never been a better time to be associated with the company.

"Customers are getting great technology," said Deere Spokesman Ken Golden. "Employees are working for a company that's setting records."

And as local plants complete upgrades in Davenport, Des Moines and Waterloo, Deere plans to build seven factories abroad. That's helping the company to add 6,000 jobs worldwide. More than a third of those jobs are in the U.S.

"As a company we're going to survive, prosper and provide the products to help the citizens of the world," said Deere retiree Jerry Miller, who spent 42 years with the company.

Chairman Allen says that Deere's business success positions the company to compete successfully in a wide range of markets and market conditions.

That means continuing to be nimble and lean during challenging times. The company will seize the demand for food production as the world population continues to soar.

"There are parts of the world that are going to need food," said East Moline Mayor John Thodos. "Who better than John Deere to give them the equipment to be able to fulfill those needs."

Sales of big ticket ag and construction equipment are climbing, too. It's all positive for shareholders.

"John Deere stands at the forefront," said shareholder Lee Lindberg.

What's good for Deere & Company is good for the Quad Cities. The Illinois company is becoming more international by the day.

"It is a really good time to work for Deere, have Deere products and to invest in Deere," Golden concluded.