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Deere & Co. Layoffs, Cargill Workers Strike in Canada

Bloomberg’s Michael Hirtzer reported this past Friday that “Deere & Co., the world’s top seller of farm machinery, will cut an undisclosed number of employees in its global production and salaried workforce, according to a letter sent to employees Friday that was seen by Bloomberg.”

“The company is facing rising operational costs and declining demand, according to the letter signed by Chief Executive Officer John May,” Hirtzer reported. “‘Unfortunately, this means parting with some of our talented and dedicated colleagues,’ the letter stated. Any adjustments will be finalized at the end of the third quarter in July, it said. A Deere spokesperson had no additional comment.”

The announced layoffs will add to the already more than 650 employees that have been laid off or are scheduled to be laid off at Deere & Co. so far in 2024, the Des Moines Register’s Kate Kealey reported at the end of May 2024.

“Net sales for the company’s production and precision agriculture segment have dropped by more than $6 billion,” Kealey reported. “This is a 16% drop compared to last year’s second quarter, according to the Des Moines Register. Farm income is also to drop by 25% in comparison to 2023. Prices for equipment have been discounted or sold at lower prices as a result of farmers feeling the heat of high interest rates. The economic climate has forced Deere and other companies to cut back on production, according to the Des Moines Register.”

Cargill Workers Begin Strike in Ontario

CBC News’ Cameron Mahler reported this past Friday that “Cargill’s beef processing facility in Guelph closed down this week as hundreds of workers took to the picket lines. Jason Hanley, regional director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, says about 1,000 workers have walked off the job after rejecting a contract offer over wage concerns.”

“Hanley said the rise in the cost of living and the cessation of a $2-per-hour COVID pandemic premium were key issues raised at the bargaining meetings,” Mahler reported. “Hanley said they’ve taken a 24-hour strike cycle approach. Workers split up the day between four six-hour shifts, starting at midnight.”

Meat & Poultry’s Ryan McCarthy reported that “after the union strike, Cargill provided a statement to MEAT+POULTRY expressing its disappointment with the outcome.”

“‘Our proposed agreement, which the union bargaining committee unanimously recommended as a comprehensive proposal, honors the tremendous skill and dedication of our Guelph workforce in feeding families across Canada,’ the company said,” according to McCarthy.

Mahler reported that Cargill employee Daniel “Copeland and other workers said Cargill’s Guelph facility sees 90 percent of Ontario’s beef cross through its doors, but Michael Von Massow says that as far as beef availability goes, grocery store shelves won’t be emptying any time soon.”

“Von Massow is a professor of food and resource economics at the University of Guelph. He said there is a precedent for the large beef processor shutting down in Canada,” Mahler reported. “‘If we look back to when the much larger Cargill plant in High River, Alta., closed during COVID, we noticed almost no impact on availability,’ he said.”

Canadian Cattle Producers Could Be Impacted

“Where the (strike) impact is felt is further up the line, before Cargill processes the beef,” Mahler reported. “‘If you look at beef, animals are shipped for processing when they are ready,’ Von Massow said. ‘If they can’t be shipped for processing, they get bigger and the value of the animal actually goes down,’ he added. ‘A long closure, even one of a couple of weeks, would have a dramatic impact on beef producers in this province. It’s just not likely to have a significant impact on beef consumers.'”

Ryan Hanrahan is the Farm Policy News editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism). He can be reached at

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