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Deere watching

John Deere’s Gold Key customer tour 
program now applies to a range of products built in five of the company’s U.S. plants

If you’ve just written a cheque to cement the deal on any new ag machine from John Deere, odds are you can arrange to go to the appropriate factory and see it built. The green brand first introduced its Gold Key program, which arranges for special customer factory visits, in 1995, but it originally applied to just tractors and combines. Since then, the program has been expanded to include most of Deere’s U.S. assembly plants, providing opportunities for buyers of a pretty wide variety of ag equipment to see their machines being built.

“We have the best tour program in the industry,” says Barry Nelson, Deere’s North American media relations manager.

In all, the program will now get you inside operations at Deere’s Waterloo, Iowa, tractor plant, the Moline, Illinois, Harvester Works, the Ottumwa, Iowa, factory that builds round balers, mower conditioners and self-propelled windrowers, the Des Moines, Iowa, Works that builds sprayers and the Commercial Products facility in Augusta, Georgia, that churns out utility tractors.

Apparently Deere believes if you build it, they will come. And so far they (meaning farmers) have been coming. These customer visit programs are gaining popularity with farmers across all the brands, according to marketing managers.

Here’s how Deere described its program to us in a written summary: “During their visit, Gold Key customers are escorted by a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide for an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ factory tour, meet and interact with the John Deere factory employees, enjoy a complimentary catered meal as well as a group photo, a certificate of recognition, a John Deere hat and a ‘Gold Key’… all at no cost to the customer.”

As usual, your dealer needs to arrange the visit for you. If you can’t be at the plant on the day your machine is built, Deere will arrange for a similar tour on a date within 60 days of your machine going down the line, during which they will provide you with a similar experience, even if you won’t get to see your particular machine.

Additionally, Gold Key customers visiting John Deere Harvester Works also receive a tour and catered meal at the Deere and Company World Headquarters and are encouraged to explore both the John Deere Pavilion and the John Deere Store in downtown Moline.

Basic factory tours for the general public are also available and can be arranged through John Deere Guest Services by calling 800-765-9588. †

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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