The company, known by several different names before being incorporated as Deere and Company in 1868, traces its origins to 1837, when founder John Deere developed a steel plow. The early years established the company’s roots in agricultural machinery and turf products, still its most important segment, even though it is also a major manufacturer and supplier of construction and forestry machinery in markets throughout the world.
As a major supplier of agricultural equipment, Deere’s revenue began falling when the farm economy began a downward trend around 2014, primarily the result of weakening agricultural commodity prices. Deere’s total revenue dropped in 2015 by xx percent from the previous year, with Agriculture and Turf (x%) taking the bigger hit than Construction and Forestry (x%). Revenue remained on the downward trend the following year before picking up in 2017. The recovery continued into 2018, albeit unevenly, with Agriculture and Turf increasing by xx percent and Construction and Forestry by x percent from the prior year. Deere had to take a number of steps to address the downturn, including reducing personnel, streamlining manufacturing operations, and utilizing flexible assembly lines that can accommodate a more expansive product line and deliver products that meet customer and dealer demand.
The Agriculture and Turf and Construction and Forestry sectors, discussed above, form the basis of Deere’s Equipment Operations, one of the company’s two primary divisions. The other main division, Financial Operations, will be discussed only briefly in this report, though it plays an important role in financing sales and leases by Deere’s dealers. The table below summarizes Deere’s revenues from Equipment Operations, broken down into the Agriculture and Turf and Construction and Forestry segments. The table lists revenue from Deere’s last three financial calendar years, as well as Deere’s second quarter (ending on April 28, 2019).