Just 65 years after Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River through the Kansas City area, John Deere opened its first branch office in 1869. This week, company employees, retirees, community leaders and guests gathered at the historic John Deere Plow building located in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo., to celebrate the 150-year significant physical and economic milestone in the company’s history.
Community leaders, including Jackson County Missouri Executive Frank White Jr.; Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas; and Bob Peterson, chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City attended the event where Mayor Lucas proclaimed Aug. 22 to be John Deere Day.
John Deere opened its Kansas City Branch office 150 years ago, where it quickly became the largest distribution center and sales hub for the rapidly growing company that was founded in 1837. Today, John Deere is a global leader in the manufacturing, distribution and sales of agricultural, turf, construction and forestry equipment, thanks in part to Kansas City.
Once opened, the Kansas City office provided John Deere with a gateway to expanding new markets in the west. “Its proximity to roads, rivers and rail systems helped John Deere grow and keep pace with a rapidly growing country,” said John Lagemann, senior vice president for John Deere. “As our company has continued to grow, Kansas City, and the surrounding area, have played and continue to play a key role.”
Today, the John Deere Ag Marketing Center, in Olathe, Kansas, is home to a variety of marketing, accounting and dealer support functions for the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company’s iconic green and yellow equipment is sold at numerous independent dealerships across Missouri and Kansas where John Deere employs more than 1,500 people and another 1,100 of its retirees also live.
Looking forward, Lagemann said the lessons John Deere has learned from the past will only better prepare it for the future. “As we look ahead, John Deere remains firmly committed to providing our customers with the latest equipment technology and data required to meet the ever-increasing food, fiber and fuel needs of a growing global population,” Lagemann said. “Our higher purpose of serving those who are linked to the land, helps guide us as we continue on the journey our founder began back in 1837. We believe that journey ultimately leads to a future filled with great promise and opportunity for all farmers.”