By: Julie Buntjer

JACKSON, Minn. — On the heels of some shift realignments and a reduction in its temporary workforce earlier this year, AGCO Jackson Operations last week cut 43 employees from its workforce campus-wide.

The cuts represent less than 4% of AGCO Jackson’s workforce, according to Eric Fisher, director of operations for the southwest Minnesota facility. Still, Fisher said they have more employees today than they did in 2011,when major expansions were under way on the Jackson campus.

“Our employment is at 1,100 right now on the Jackson campus,” Fisher said. “If you go back to the summer of 2011, we were at 856 employees.

“We’ve still seen tremendous growth from 2011 to this point in time,” he added.

Fisher attributed the staffing reductions to the agriculture economy, which has seen commodity prices — particularly in corn and soybeans — drop dramatically in 2014.

“It’s a cyclical market,” he said. “We all understand that it ebbs and flows, and it impacts all equipment manufacturers.”

The AGCO Jackson campus manufactures Terragator and Rogator application equipment, as well as Challenger and Massey Ferguson track and high-horsepower wheeled tractors.

“The (economy) has affected everything — some to different levels than others — and that’s what resulted in us trying to resize that workforce by close to 4% so we could position ourselves with what we see in the future outlook,” Fisher said.

On Wednesday, Fisher said AGCO will continue to monitor the industry, while trying to focus on minimizing the impact to AGCO Jackson employees.

“We don’t anticipate any further reductions,” he said.

AGCO Jackson has seen steady growth in recent years.

The company established roots in Jackson in 1963 with the founding of Ag-Chem Equipment Co., a distributor of spraying equipment. AGCO purchased the business in 2001.

The Jackson campus underwent a $17 million expansion, completed in June 2012, to include manufacturing space onsite for the production of Massey Ferguson tractors and the addition of an Intivity Center to welcome visitors to the plant.

In May 2013, $42 million in additional expansion plans were announced, which included investments in technology.

Earlier this year, AGCO expanded its southwest Minnesota footprint into Round Lake, leasing a portion of the former Farley’s & Sathers building. Fisher said activity at the site has increased quite a bit in the past three to six months.

“We’ve continued to transition a lot of our overseas material coming to the Jackson plant through that facility,” Fisher said. “There are over 20 employees at that location now — they are with a third-party provider we use.”

A late October report issued by Business Wire stated that AGCO’s net sales of approximately $2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2014 was a 12.3% drop from the same quarter in 2013, when the company experienced net sales of approximately $2.5 billion worldwide.

For the first nine months of 2014, AGCO recorded net sales of approximately $7.2 billion worldwide, down 8% from the same time period in 2013.