John Deere starts production of protective gear for health-care workers

John Deere is teaming up with multiple organizations to produce protective face shields for health-care workers in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. (KWQC/John Deere)
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(KWQC) - John Deere is teaming up with multiple organizations to produce protective face shields for health-care workers in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

In a release, officials say this is in collaboration with the UAW, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association has joined multiple organizations and companies across the country to produce them.

Employees began production on Wednesday at the John Deere Seeding Group in Moline. The factory manufactures planting equipment and precision ag solutions for a global customer base.

Officials say Deere expects to produce 25,000 face shields in the initial stages of production and has ordered materials and supplies to produce an additional 200,000 face shields. Additionally, officials say the first 25,000 will be delivered to 16 United States Deere-Hitachi factory for local distribution. The initial run will help officials meet the immediate needs of health-care workers in those communities.

You can read the full announcement below.

"John Deere, in collaboration with the UAW, the Iowa
Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, announced today it is producing protective face shields at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Illinois. Deere employees will initially produce 25,000 face shields to meet the immediate needs of healthcare workers in several of its U.S. manufacturing communities.

Materials and supplies are on order to produce an additional 200,000 face shields. The company is using an open-source design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project and leveraging expertise, skills, and innovation of its employee base.

“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW, and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our health-care workers during this crisis,” said John May, Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we’ve identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”

John Deere Seeding Group employees are supporting the special project and are utilizing extensive and robust safety measures adopted across the company to safeguard employees.

“This is a very proud day for the UAW and our UAW members,” said Rory L. Gamble, UAW President. “I want to recognize the hard work that Secretary-Treasurer and Agriculture Implement Department Director Ray Curry and Region 4 Director Ron McInroy contributed to this effort. This included working to put the necessary health and safety provisions in place for our members to begin manufacturing critically-needed face shields for the health-care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis saving lives. We are especially proud of the courageous UAW members who are stepping up to do this critical work.”

The production of protective face shields is one of many initiatives the company and its employees have executed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Efforts in the U.S. have included the following:

• PPE donations to health care facilities
• 2:1 employee match program encouraging donations to local food banks and the American Red Cross
• Production of approximately 18,000 protective face shields for use by factory employees
• Employee volunteerism efforts to sew cloth masks for community members along with a match from the John Deere Foundation for the time invested in this volunteer activity
• Launch of a COVID-19 innovations site to share open-source specifications for related projects, including 3D-printed clips to affix face shields to protective bump caps.

For additional information regarding Deere’s response to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Update Center."