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Published September 22 2010

55 layoffs at Valley City's John Deere plant become permanent

About 55 employees at the John Deere Seeding Group plant in Valley City, N.D., who had been laid off seasonally will lose their positions permanently, the plant’s manager said Tuesday.

Keith Hovland said the layoffs reflect an unexpected downturn in the air seeder market.

He said seasonal layoffs during the summer months are not unusual. A month ago, the Times-Record of Valley City reported that the company recalled about 140 who had been laid off seasonally. Hovland said the company ultimately recalled about 178 laid-off workers.

But reduced demand for air seeders made it difficult to recall more than that, he said. The company decided last Friday to make 55 of the cuts permanent. Hovland said the affected workers have been notified.

He said the plant plans to rehire as many employees as possible when demand picks up again.

“We value all of them, and we certainly want to hire them back,” Hovland said. “We really regret that these market conditions persist.”

He said the company will provide access to job services for the laid-off employees.

Valley City Mayor Bob Werkhoven applauded that move but said the cuts are a blow to the town.

“I think the company’s doing what they can to find work for those folks,” he said. “It’s disappointing, to say the least. We’re trying so hard all the time to make jobs.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502