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Peoria Public Radio reports:

Deere and Company makes money for investors even when farmers are suffering. That's one of the messages Chairman and CEO Sam Allen emphasized during today's annual meeting at world headquarters in Moline.

It's clear Sam Allen is very pleased with Deere and Company's performance during the downturn in the ag sector. He's also confident it can help customers feed and shelter the world's growing population for decades to come.

In a video shown to about 350 shareholders, Allen says for seven years, John Deere has followed the same business strategy. That will continue with a few additions - here's what he says about that in the video. "We continue to focus on sales growth,and we've adopted a more meaningful metric for that growth. We're determined to grow faster than our chief competitors. And we're increasing our commitment to precision ag, combining our superior equipment, precision technology and dealer services. We're also making big adjustments to our structural costs, to address the cyclical nature of our major markets around the world."

Deere has committed to cutting business costs by $500 million this year and next. Ken Golden, Director of Global Public Relations, says that will include personnel cuts, lower material costs, and limiting research and development spending.

While taking questions from shareholders, one asked how Deere executives view possible changes in trade under the Trump administration. Golden says the company supports free trade because its customers benefit from it, especially ag customers. "You know, a lot of times people talk about exports from our factories. When we talk about Waterloo, Iowa, about a third of the tractors leave this country, And so, when you think about, you can also think that a free trade economy is important to employment in the US. Because if we're not exporting that many tractors, we don't have as many employees."

Shareholders elected twelve directors and approved an annual advisory vote on executive compensation, but rejected a California stockholder's proposal called Right to Act by Written Consent. Allen also re-assured shareholders - Deere has no plans to move its global headquarters to Chicago, unlike a certain manufacturer currently based in Peoria.

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