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The Slowdown

Adjustments. Realignments of business priorities. Strategic decisions. Call them whatever you choose. But this month, the agriculture industry has experienced several reductions.

Farmers are dealing with the largest expected drop in income in two decades. And companies are taking action. Bridgestone-Firestone is laying off dozens of workers at its Des Moines, Iowa plant. The plant makes the company’s tractor tires.

The company did not immediately confirm how many employees would be laid off. But a union leader told the Des Moines Register that shorter-tenured employees would be impacted. And those represent more than 10% of the plant’s 900 employees.

The plant has a long history in central Iowa. In 2020, the plant celebrated its 75th anniversary in Des Moines.

“The Des Moines Ag Tire Plant is part of the fabric of the Des Moines community and the Bridgestone manufacturing footprint. This is a historic milestone that we are proud to reach thanks to the dedication of so many who have invested in our plant – first and foremost, our employees and retirees, as well as the ongoing support of our customers and the local community and state of Iowa. We remain committed to delivering world-class Firestone Ag tires to our customers and working together to feed the world."

--Greg Halford, Des Moines plant manager, Bridgestone Americas (August 17, 2020)

Other companies have already announced reductions. John Deere has had a series of layoffs impacting the Midwest.

  • The company confirmed to WQAD that it is laying off 120 employees at its Seeding and Cylinder plant in Moline, Illinois. See that story here. 

  • KCCI-TV detailed layoffs at four different locations in Iowa. John Deere has also offered early retirements. Watch that story here. 

  • John Deere announced that it would move production of some of its skid steer loaders and compact loaders from Iowa to a new facility in Mexico. Here is the AgDay TV report on that. 


In a corporate video titled “Opportunities are greater in front of us” released following the announcement of the company’s second quarter earnings, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Josh Jepsen and Director of Investor Relations Josh Beal talked about the company’s plans going forward and the potential challenges in the second half of 2024.


American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains


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