John Deeres Deanna Kovar to be Agriculture & Turf President

John Deere's Deanna Kovar to be Agriculture & Turf President

 June 29, 2023

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A leadership change at John Deere will see woman in leadership Deanna Kovar transition to President, Agriculture & Turf, Small Agriculture.

Deanna is currently Vice President of Production Systems, Production & Precision Agriculture, and will take on additional responsibilities in Small Agriculture & Turf before her full transition. 

As part of her role, Deanna will oversee the Africa, Middle East & Asia region and the Europe & CIS region, and the presidency for the Agricultural Equipment business and Turf businesses.

Success in leadership positions 

John Deere Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, John C. May, commenting on leadership changes said: "These planned changes reflect the depth of talent on our senior management team and demonstrate our disciplined focus on effective leadership succession planning. Deanna's command of precision technology, deep customer understanding, and record of success in a number of leadership positions make her highly qualified for these expanded duties in Small Agriculture & Turf."

In her previous position, Deanna was responsible for the area of Precision Agriculture, and was instrumental in the company's transformation into a Smart Industrial Company and in the introduction of the John Deere Production Systems.

Deanna has been instrumental in John Deere's strategy shift from a pure equipment supplier to a technology company in recent years. She grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, USA and has been with John Deere since 2000. During her career, she has held various leadership positions and worked closely with the four John Deere regions. Key roles have included sales, marketing, customer service and product development. As head of Europe, she will relocate to the Mannheim region in Germany with her family.

Using technology to help farmers grow more with less 

"John Deere has a real purpose," shares Deanna. "We run, so life can leap forward. We've got real technology that's in the hands of farmers today, and is actually in news all around the world, and it has a real impact on helping farmers grow more with less. The population of the world is going to grow from 8 billion people to 10 billion people by 2050, and diets are changing and that means that farmers have a huge challenge to grow 50 per cent more food to feed that population. The only way we're going to do it is to bring technology to agriculture...Technology is not a convenience in agriculture, it's a necessity."

"We making sure that farmers can grow more with less to feed this growing population and have a smaller impact on the environment long term. Farmers are the stewards of the land. For them their land is what they hand down to the next generation, so they're the most focused on making sure they not only do a good job from an economic standpoint, but also an environmental standpoint," explains Deanna. "We're trying to make sure that we can create the food, but also we're doing it in a way that protects the land and the water and all the other things that the next generation is going to need to continue to feed itself."

Coming from a dairy farming family herself, Deanna says: "I have so much passion to really focus on what problems farmers have today, and how can technology and John Deere equipment help solve them? It's in my blood, and it's in my history, but you also don't have to come from a farm to have an impact at John Deere. We're really looking for the best and brightest people who want to solve real problems and brains to the problem. And so what's really cool at John Deere is to see the people with a long-standing history in agriculture, combined with the folks who have a long-standing history in technology, come together and solve real problems."

The future of vehicle technology in agriculture 

Discussing the future of vehicle technology in agriculture, Deanna says: "John Deere advocates for agriculture and for the thousands and thousands of farmers who, around the world, get up every day, thinking about how they can grow more with less to feed a growing population."

"We live up to the legend, the man, John Deere, every day here at John Deere, but we're also thinking about how we can forge the cutting edge and really bring technologies that other industries are using to the farm, at scale, and have a real impact on everyone that is on this planet."

Innovation is a core value at John Deere 

One of John Deere's four core values is innovation. "John Deere, the man, 185 years ago, was an innovator and helped, in a good way, break the Midwestern soil so that farmers could farm it and really become productive. And over the course of our 185 years of history, innovation has been at the heart of everything we do," explains Deanna. 

A huge undertaking for agriculture 

Deanna explains that as we're going to move from about 7.8 billion people on the planet to nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050, and because many of those folks are having better lives, their diets are improving as well. 

"So a 25 to 30 per cent increase in population means that agriculture has to grow 50 per cent more food to feed that population. And that's a huge undertaking for agriculture as you think of the fact that available land to farm isn't actually growing. It's stable at this point," she says. 

Deanna suggests it is important to figure out how to grow more on the same land with less input, because sustainability is on the mind of everyone, especially farmers, in terms of how we can all do an even better job of driving sustainability.

Food security is a key issue

Looking at what John Deere in terms of food security, Deanna says: "John Deere's mission is to help feed the world, at the heart of it. And that's everyone, everywhere. So it's about how can we leverage this technology in every part of the world going forward, so that no matter the size and scale of operations, John Deere has a technology tool that can help you do more. And then of course, there's an environmental opportunity. Farmers are the ultimate stewards of the land. At the end of the day, the land that farmers farm is what they have to hand down to their next generation. And so every day farmers get up looking for ways to improve their land and do more with less. And so this intersection of feeding the world and doing it in a highly sustainable way is perfectly lined up."

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