Have you noticed that few corporations simply have good or bad quarters these days? More and more frequently, companies report solid results tempered by caution about their future prospects.

Take Deere (NYSE: DE), for instance. The company continues to profit from heightened agricultural activity across the world, especially beyond North America. As a result, in its most recent quarter, it earned $763.5 million, or $1.74 per share, making its net 22% higher than the $623.6 million in the same quarter last year. Sales were up 17% to $8.1 billion.

The latter increase resulted largely from a 46% pop in overseas sales, while the top-line contribution from the U.S. and Canada grew by just 6%. Agricultural sales were up by 34%, while commercial and consumer equipment unit revenues were up 8%.

But investments are always tied to the future, and Deere's look ahead was somewhat guarded. That restraint is clearly a spreading phenomenon for a host of big U.S.-based companies, including Deere's fellow equipment maker Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), delivery companies FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS), and chemicals maker DuPont (NYSE: DD).

Specifically, Deere's management continues to look for sales growth, including currency translations, of 20% for both the current quarter and the full year. As you might expect, that figure would clearly be driven by sales from the company's agricultural equipment segment, which management expects to expand at about a 35% pace for the full year. However, that same management also expressed concern about higher raw materials costs, along with the availability of some parts and components.

This tempered outlook aside, my inclination is to recommend that Foolish investors continue to pay close attention to Deere. Like a handful of other companies, including fertilizer producer Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) and agricultural products provider Monsanto (NYSE: MON), the company is an important cog in the world's increasing demand for food and other farm products. Since that demand simply can't decline appreciably, and in view of Deere's 35% share price growth in a year, I'm keeping the company front and center on my watch list.

For related Foolishness:

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith all too often serves as the final link in the food chain, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does solicit your comments or questions. The Fool has a disclosure policy.