Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) is joining the effort to manufacture personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, having begun production of face shields at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Illinois, yesterday.
In collaboration with the United Auto Workers union, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security, and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Deere plans on initial production of 25,000 face shields, which will be distributed to healthcare workers in its manufacturing communities located in eight states. Following the initial production, Deere aspires to produce an additional 200,000 face shields.
This may be only the beginning of a larger effort to address the paucity of personal protective equipment. Speaking to the potential growth of the initiative, CEO John May said that "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."
This latest push by Deere & Company is hardly the company's first foray in the fight against the novel coronavirus. In February, the company played an essential role in China's effort to build two new hospitals in less than two weeks to help provide care for the rapidly growing number of patients in Wuhan.
Additionally, the company has donated protective eyewear to Iowa and Illinois hospitals, and the company's John Deere Foundation, in addition to employee contributions, provided $750,000 in financial support for local food banks and American Red Cross chapters.