Wherever we do business, John Deere is known as a progressive employer and caring neighbor.
We take to heart the words of a previous Deere leader, Hans Becherer, who said great companies must embrace a sense of purpose that goes deeper than the bottom line.
What's more, we've found that good citizenship is good business. It inspires employees, motivates customers, and extends our competitive advantage.
Thus we are committed to operating ethically, safely, and in an environmentally responsible manner.
Today, these priorities are expressed in our higher purpose as an enterprise. It is to support a better way of life for people everywhere through our commitment to those linked to the land.
The way we see it, our new construction-equipment factories near Sao Paulo, Brazil, do more than produce backhoes, loaders and excavators.
They construct the roadways and bridges needed to modernize Brazil's infrastructure and achieve its economic potential. That, in turn, will make a positive impact on the lives of 200 million Brazilians.
In the same way, tractors from our factory in Pune, India, help people in that part of the world improve their diets and living standards.
The same kinds of things can be said about our new construction-equipment and engine factories near Tianjin, China.
And it certainly applies, as it has for generations, to our flagship production facilities in the United States.
John Deere touches lives in other ways, too.
Our company and its foundation are generous supporters of worthy organizations and causes, with a focus on solutions for world hunger, community development and education.
Deere's volunteerism policy encourages employees to share their time and talent for the benefit of others. In 2014, U.S. employees alone recorded over 80,000 hours of volunteer time.
In all, our global philanthropic efforts are estimated to have benefited over 9 million people worldwide last year.
Responsible citizenship also is reflected in the ways we protect the well-being of our employees and to safeguard the environment.
Deere had its best employee safety year ever in 2014, with on-the-job injury rates declining to all-time lows.
On the environmental side, we made additional progress meeting our aggressive eco-efficiency goals. They call for further reductions in water and energy use and more emphasis on recycling.
Last year, we nearly met our goal for recycling 75 percent of the waste produced by our facilities – and did so well ahead of the 2018 target date.
John Deere is known for carrying a sharp pencil and managing successful businesses.
We have no plans to do otherwise.
By the same token, we take pride that our operations reflect the light of a higher purpose.
They generate prosperity, enable human flourishing, and contribute to a higher quality of life.
John Deere faces challenging conditions in 2015. Yet we firmly believe the company is on track for long-term growth and success.
Indeed, our plans for helping meet the world's need for advanced equipment and solutions are making steady gains. They are providing value to customers around the world each and every day.
At the same time, we're confident our actions to cultivate a wider range of revenue sources and build a more durable business model will help us achieve solid results under a wide range of conditions, even in a less vigorous farm economy.
For these reasons, we are proud to reaffirm our faith in the company's present course and in its ability to deliver strong, sustainable performance well into the future.
To all who share our optimism for the future, and our passion for seizing the great opportunities that lie ahead, we say thanks for your encouragement and support.