Farm machinery companies pull out of Russia

  • A number of big name global farm machinery companies have pulled their operations in Russia condemning the country for starting a war with neighbouring Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and has continued to shell a number of key cities, vital supply networks and residential areas in the European country killing thousands of innocent men, women and children.

Machinery giant John Deere has suspended all shipments to Russia and its ally Belarus for supporting the war.

In a statement John Deere said: “John Deere is deeply saddened by the significant escalation of events in Ukraine. The safety, welfare, and well-being of our employees in the region remain our top priority, and we continue to support and maintain close communication with our affected teams, providing necessary resources when possible.

“Our thoughts are with our employees, their families as well as our dealers, customers and all those impacted by this crisis.

“Two weeks ago, we suspended shipments of machines to Russia and then subsequently, Belarus. We continue to monitor the situation closely while we fully abide by US and international sanctions. The John Deere Foundation has additionally been working directly with a number of organisations, including multiple UN agencies, to mobilise resources to support Ukrainians impacted by the crisis. Our mission is, and always has been, to help our customers feed the world,” it said.

Meanwhile Dutch machinery and equipment manufacturer Lely has also discontinued commercial activities in Russia and Belarus.

A spokesman said: “Lely is shocked by Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian people are in the midst of a war and face great uncertainty. Our thoughts are with the people directly affected by this crisis.

“Lely condemns Russia’s invasion and is immediately ceasing commercial activities in the region. This means that we will stop supplying robots to Russia and Belarus. We will continue to supply spare parts and consumables to our existing customers in these countries, considering that otherwise cow welfare and food supply in the region would be compromised.”

Lely added: “As a global supplier of dairy farm robots, we are aware of our role in global food supply, including in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. We want to do right by the interests of the population in terms of food supply, cows animal welfare and the promises we have made to our farmers, among others.

“On the other hand, we condemn all forms of violence used by Russia in this crisis. The current actions are not compatible with our values, and this has made us decide to completely stop our commercial activities in Russia and Belarus.

“Every day, and with every action we take, we consider whether it is still contributing sufficiently to the goal of guaranteeing animal welfare where possible. In doing so, we are also taking a critical look at the role and position of our partners with whom we cooperate in this area.”

Lely said the safety of people comes first and that its “decisions will in the first instance be driven by the responsibility we have for the safety of our people and the people we work with.”

Although Lely strongly condemns the invasion of Ukraine, based on current knowledge it said it will not unilaterally stop supporting its existing farmers in Russia, Belarus and surrounding countries.

“The only reason to supply parts and maintenance products to existing customers who are not on a sanctions list, is in the interest of animal welfare and because of the critical role our customers have in food supply.

“Within the possibilities of the worldwide sanctions, we only supply spare parts and consumables to existing Lely customers. Considering the severity of the sanctions, Lely cannot guarantee timely and complete delivery of said products,” Lely added.

Meanwhile, Caterpillar Inc. has suspended operations at its plants in Russia due to the challenges of doing business there.

Caterpillar said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic events continuing to occur in Ukraine and hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Through the Caterpillar Foundation, we are donating more than US$1 million to support both urgent and long-term needs of the Ukraine humanitarian crisis.

“We are complying with all applicable laws and evolving sanctions, while remaining focused on our employees, dealers and customers.

“Operations in Russia have become increasingly challenging, including supply chain disruptions and sanctions, and we are suspending operations in our Russian manufacturing facilities.

“We recognise this is a time of incredible uncertainty for our valued employees, and we will continue to look for ways to support them.”

The German Agricultural Society, DLG, that organises Agritechnica, the world’s biggest farm machinery show in Hanover, added its weight to the situation.

A DLG spokeswomen said: “The DLG condemns the war in Ukraine as a contravention of international law. As a partner of European agriculture and as a supporter of a free Europe with the right to freedom, peace, self-determination for all states and cross-border personal and professional exchange, the DLG views the assault on Ukraine with great concern.

“DLG’s thoughts are with all people affected by the war, especially the farmers in this important agricultural region. Our support goes in particular to our employees and DLG members in Ukraine.”