The John Deere Corporation got its start in 1837 when John Deere invented a polished steel plow that allowed farmers to cut clean furrows through the prairie soil (John Deere, 2008). In the years since this first invention the John Deere Corporation has improved their products as well as expanded their product line. Each of their products is designed to make farming easier for farmers. Over time, the John Deere Corporation has gone global and has had a hand in contributing to the world food supply. These issues will be discussed as they pertain to the ability of the John Deere Corporation to adapt to current challenges facing world economies. An analysis of the John Deere Corporation and its ability to adapt to new demands for energy will also be offered.
Since 1937, the John Deere Corporation has supplied countless pieces of farm equipment designed to simplify the farming process (John Deere, 2008). This farm machinery has enabled farmers to plant and harvest more crops which over time has increased the world food supply. When farmers are able to produce a surplus of crops hungry people around the world are able to eat. However, the majority of the work that John Deere does to ease the hunger problems around the world are in the form of monetary donations and grants. The John Deere Corporation realizes the growing hunger problem in places around the globe because of its focus on the farming process in the United States. Earlier this year, the John Deere Corporation gave $1.2 million to Opportunity International to provide increased access to financing for those suffering from hunger in Africa (USAgNet.com, 2008). This grant will eventually have a $10.6 million economic impact. Opportunity International will use the grant to “benefit thousands of farmers, food processors and retailers and their ability to provide affordable food to the rural poor in Malawi and Mozambique” (USAgNet.com, 2008).
In the short term, many companies like the John Deere Corporation who deal with farmers simply send non perishable food to starving people. However, this grant will enable people in hunger afflicted areas to implement low-cost, technology driven programs to provide and improve services to hungry families. The goal is to create a sustainable framework in Africa to increase food production, food availability and local markets and family income for food (USAgNet.com, 2008). This goal provides for more long term success because it enables the people of Africa to learn how technology can change their farming methods in order to produce more food and make that food available to more hungry people. This generous grant from the John Deere Corporation will have a positive impact on the global food crisis because it will be used to educate hunger afflicted people in Africa how to change their farming habits for the future.
The John Deere Corporation is also working to alleviate hunger issues in the United States. There are many children who are not well fed and a grant from the John Deere Corporation to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank looks to change that. The grant is going to support Operation Family Pack which puts food directly into the hands of hungry children. The $225,000 grant will provide healthy food that children can prepare and eat on their own when parents are not around to cook for them. The grant by the John Deere Corporation will be used to expand the Operation Family Pack program to provide food to more children in more areas (Crosser, 2007). These types of programs also help alleviate the global food crisis by making sure food reaches those who need it most. The generosity of the John Deere Corporation has allowed many hungry children to receive food.
There are many areas around the globe currently facing poverty (Halabi, 2007). As the United States faces a credit crisis and a sharp increase in home foreclosures, there are many more people around the world suffering from hunger. Despite the economic problems in the United States, the vast majority of people are not hungry. This isn’t the case in many other places that continue to suffer from insufficient food supplies. In addition, the American dollar is losing value while food prices are continuing to rise (Halabi, 2007). These factors certainly affect Americans, but those effects are often felt many times over for other economies around the world. As the American dollar continues to fall, so do other currencies around the globe (Halabi, 2007). This forces other countries to reduce labor wages and it makes it more difficult for other countries to sell their goods (Halabi, 2007). The income potential of the John Deere Corporation is huge and their willingness to donate millions of dollars to help feed the hungry won’t solve the global hunger problem but it will eliminate many of the problems associated with it. As economies around the world continue to decline, the John Deere Corporation continues to provide farming equipment to enable farmers to increase food production while also giving money to put food directly into the stomachs of hungry people worldwide.
Another challenge facing the world is the issue of climate change and the impact humans have on the earth. Many large companies around the world are attempting to reduce waste while maintaining current production levels. In 2002, the John Deere Corporation took a huge step in reducing their carbon footprint by changing the materials used in constructing their entire line of Harvester Works machinery (Anonymous, 2001). This line of farm machinery includes panels made from HarvetForm, a new composite made from soybean and corn polymers (Anonymous, 2001). The material is extremely strong but weighs 25% less than steel (Anonymous, 2001). This choice has enabled John Deere to use renewable materials while reducing the amount of waste produced.
Further, the John Deere Corporation has announced that it has plans to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions over the next six years (Paschke, 2008). The John Deere Corporation currently meets all EPA guidelines regarding emissions, but in an effort to meet the challenges of a global climate crisis, they are aiming to further reduce their emissions (Paschke, 2008). They are also exploring ways to incorporation more bio-diesel into their products to further “green” their machinery (Paschke, 2008). The fact that the John Deere Corporation realizes the problems associated with climate change and the environment enable them to discover new and innovative ways to continue to offer the same products while also reducing the amount of damage that is done to the planet. Finally, the John Deere Corporation is currently investigating the power of wind and the positive changes it will bring to the global agriculture market.
New demand for energy is another issue that the John Deere Corporation has been interested in since the creation of their company. The John Deere Corporation has had working relationships with farmers for decades and also has big money to put towards new energy sources (Hargreaves, 2007). In light of recent economic pressures and weather issues, farmers are having a hard time producing enough crops to keep their farm alive. As a result, the John Deere Corporation has fronted half the money needed to implement a new program that will bring money to farmers through the harnessing of wind power (Hargreaves, 2007). The money provided by the John Deere Corporation and local banks enables farmers to purchase windmills to be installed on their individual farms. The farmers involved form a cooperative and sell the wind power to local utilities that put up wind turbines. For the first ten years the majority of the profits go back to the John Deere Corporation who pays the farmers a fee to maintain the equipment. However, once the farmer has paid off his loan the majority of the profits go into his pocket (Hargreaves, 2007). Since selling the electricity can turn profits of $1 million to $1.5 million, this program has incredible potential to keep farms producing food as well as produce alternate energy. Each group of turbines purchased produces enough megawatts to power five thousand to ten thousand homes (Hargreaves, 2007). This program certainly benefits the John Deere Corporation but it also benefits local farmers who are responsible to parts of the global food supply. Most importantly, it provides an inexpensive way to produce alternate fuel sources that can further reduce the negative impact on the environment.
The John Deere Corporation has been concerned about energy at least since 1973 when it created its energy management program which “requires company operations to implement energy-conservation initiatives and track energy use” (Pew Center, 2008). The John Deere Corporation added its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions inventory program in 2003 (Pew Center, 2008). These initiatives show how important the John Deere Corporation has historically felt about energy conservation. They realize that their machinery can only be operated using energy. However, instead of simply consuming whatever energy they need, the company tracks its energy use and makes attempts to reduce that energy consumption. In addition, the John Deere Corporation is constantly exploring alternate fuel options such as the above mentioned bio diesel.
The John Deere Corporation is certainly ready to change with current challenges facing the United States and the global markets. In addition, the John Deere Corporation acknowledges current economy as, “one posing enormous challenges but one that offers significant opportunities, as well” (Lane, 2007). A major challenge facing the agricultural industry, and therefore affecting the John Deere Corporation, is the issue of creating sustainable prosperity (Lane, 2007). Sustainable prosperity can positively benefit many world economies by improving diets, incomes and living standards (Lane, 2007). Agriculture is a principle way that sustainable prosperity is achieved and the John Deere Corporation is ready to meet these challenges through new technology and continued research.
Another major challenge currently facing the John Deere Corporation is the growing population. It is projected that the world population will grow to 8 billion (from the current 6.5 billion) by 2025 and to 9.1 billion by 2050 (Lane, 2007). This growing population will increase food production demand for agricultural markets across the globe. The John Deere Corporation must help global economies meet growing food demand by continuing to play a major role in farming machinery that has historically enabled farmers to produce more food (Lane, 2007). The continued evolution of current products will allow the John Deere Corporation to continue to be a leader in farm machinery. At the same time, this new machinery must take the energy needs of the changing world into account (Lane, 2007). As described in the wind power example above, the John Deere Corporation realizes the need to produce products that support cleaner air and energy diversification (Lane, 2007).
Finally, the John Deere Corporation must acknowledge the impact of agriculture on the environment. Current challenges include less arable land and competition over water (Lane, 2007). Therefore, it is essential that as the John Deere Corporation meets changing demands for farm equipment, they also focus on agricultural sustainability (Lane, 2007). The major challenge will be finding ways to reduce the negative impact that agriculture has on the environment while also producing new farming practices aimed at improving sustainability (Lane, 2007). History shows that the agricultural economy was able to overcome past food supply issues and it is ready to meet future energy needs (Lane, 2007). The John Deere Corporation admits that they aren’t entirely sure what path they need to take but they do show a willingness to explore their options and work with the global agricultural market to meet current challenges.
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Paschke, Dan. (2008). Just a color? Living the Country Life. Retrieved on December 16, 2008
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USAgNet.com. (2008). Deere Foundation Gives $1.2 Million Grant to Fight Hunger in Africa.
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