100 years of John Deere

They say nothing runs likes a Deere and this Deere has been running for one century and showing no signs of stopping. The company is celebrating 100 years of business with new tractor models that will have decals commemorating the achievement.

Photo by Jody Isaackson Kibble Manager Kyle Minett stands beside an older 4440 John Deere tractor. Any baby boomer growing up on the farm would say this was a “new” model back when they were kids. Most real antiques are in museums, Minett said.


Site manager Kyle Minett and members of his staff at Kibble Equipment are busy getting ready for their spring open house called “Drive Green.” This year, they are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Deere tractor.

Minett said that this year’s models will be coming out with a 100-year decal to commemorate the anniversary and that antiques are rare, often found only in museums.

“We’ll see the new models in use once the weather clears up,” he said Tuesday.

Many changes have come upon the John Deere tractor since it was first introduced in Waterloo, Iowa, a century ago, Minett said, but it’s still a John Deere through and through.

“Most other companies have third-party engines or other parts,” he said. “Almost all the John Deere tractors are still manufactured in Waterloo, Iowa, and have John Deere-built engines. It’s probably the reason they’ve made it into the 21st century.”

Minett grew up in this part of the country, so ag business comes naturally to him.

“I grew up on a farm by Ruthton, and I’ve been working for John Deere for five years now,” Minett said. “The tractors we’ve seen just over the past 20 years have really changed.”

Changes in the models over the years have been in response to the changes in farming practices, Minett said.

“Over the years as farm sizes grew larger and larger, with fewer and fewer farmers to run them, manufacturers are seeing that,” he said. “With today’s technologies, tractors with GPS can drive themselves. Tractors that totally driving themselves are being worked on. On a large scale, it will happen. Labor is getting sparse, so there is a demand for (robotic) tractors.”

“June 2017, Schuneman/Kibble merged with three other dealer groups and purchased Ag Power,” Minett said. “Now, we have 22 John Deere stores from Huron, South Dakota, to Owatonna.”

Minett said that he hasn’t yet heard about the 100th anniversary toy but is expecting to prior to the open house which the Marshall site is planning for late May.

“We just have to finalize a date,” he said.

In addition to seeing the new toy and the 100th anniversary decal on new tractors, open house attendees will be able to test-drive the equipment.

John Deere, worldwide, will be holding a number of activities to celebrate this monumental anniversary. The company’s most iconic tractors will be displayed at the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, Iowa; the John Deere Pavilion and John Deere World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois; as well as at the John Deere Forum in Mannheim, Germany.

One hundred John Deere tractors and engines, both company and customer-owned equipment, will be on display at the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum and at the Waterloo Convention Center in June. The display will showcase a range of equipment that spans across John Deere’s product lines from around the world. Both venues will also host exhibits, food and family-friendly activities.

A number of museums across America will also be celebrating John Deere’s 100th anniversary and contribution to the agricultural industry include, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, Iowa and State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines will also be telling the story of John Deere’s history through farm toys in 2018, with final dates still to be determined.