Farmers worry of equipment shortage from John Deere strike

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CLINTON COUNTY, Iowa (KWQC) - As the strike against John Deere continues, farmers who rely on Deere for equipment are feeling the impact of slowed production and shipping deliveries.

“It worries me that I may not get my parts on time or at all,” said Peter Whitman, a Clinton County farmer.

Whitman says he felt the impact of COVID-19 and shipping delays on delivery times for parts before strikers took to the picket line.

“To start out the season when we were trying to get ready to go one of our bean heads was down. For the parts we needed, they said it might be two to three weeks before you get them,” Whitman said, “Then the last time I went in about a week ago, I needed a washer and a nut and she told me well it might be two months.”

The Whitman family still has a few weeks of crops left to harvest. They are hoping they won’t need Deere parts that could take months to get in.

“For our corn head, if one row goes out and the rows are what cut the cornstalk off if those are busted and we have to order those and get them in, that puts the whole combine down. Which means we can’t harvest, it slows down our harvest for the year,” Whitman said, “If we have to wait a couple of months for parts, now we are getting into the middle of December with a foot of snow and we could be trying to combine corn.”

If the strike goes on for months, the Whitman family worries about how it could affect planting season.

“It puts on even more pressure on us because say we have a bad spring and with planters, there are always things that can go wrong. You can have a brand new part on a planter and all of a sudden you hit a rock and now you have to get that new part again,” said David Whitman, a Clinton County farmer.

John Deere released a statement on Monday saying, “We are fully committed to the collective bargaining process and resolving the strike. We remain committed to providing our production and maintenance employees with the opportunities to earn the best wages and most comprehensive benefits in our industries.”

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