17-year-old Deere Shareholder Is Excited About the Future of Farming

February  27, 2014

One of John Deere's slogans this year is, "The future of farming is in sight." But in fact, a big part of that future was sitting in the audience during Wednesday's annual meeting. 17-year-old Tommy Justison is the president of Section 19 of the Future Farmers of America in Hillsboro, Illinois. He's also a Deere shareholder along with other members of his family. They use the company's tractors, planters, sprayers, and combines on their farm south of Springfield.

Justison drove about three hours to attend the meeting and hear President and CEO Sam Allen address the shareholders. "I was very happy to come. I got to meet Mr. Allen, and thank him for his support of the Future Farmers of America. And I'm happy with recent earnings reports, especially with Deere's new planter. I was at the farm show in Louisville to see it, and I think it'll help profits this year." He's referring to Deere's new "Exact Emerge" planter, unveiled two weeks ago. "We farm about 7,000 acres with family, but we also have to hire a few people to help. We hope to try out the new planter in our fields. And going ten mph instead of five will improve efficiency a lot."

Justison just graduated from high school in December and plans to major in agriculture and  business at the University of Illinois. 

During the annual  meeting at Deere World Headquarters in Moline, shareholders re-elected all eleven members of the board, approved the hiring of an accounting firm to audit the company's finances, and approved the board's recommendations for executive pay for the coming year. Directors serving for another year include Deere chairman and CEO, Samuel Allen, the chairman of Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins, Clayton Jones, and the executive chairman of Cargill, Gregory Page.

Following the annual meeting, the board of directors approved the regular quarterly dividend of $.51 a share on common stock, payable May 1st, to stockholders of record on March 31st.