John Deere to expand Thibodaux manufacturing plant, creating 70 direct jobs

A $29.8 million expansion at the John Deere factory in Thibodaux will create 70 direct jobs and help retain more than 300 employees locally and across Louisiana, officials said Tuesday.

The project will shift cotton harvester production from China to Lafourche Parish, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

Deere & Company will create 70 new direct jobs at the Thibodaux plant with an average annual salary of $47,472, the state agency said in a news release. It will also retain 311 existing jobs in Louisiana, including 284 jobs at the Lafourche Parish facility.

Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 110 new indirect jobs, for a total of 180 new jobs in the Thibodaux area, officials said.

The announcement coincides with Louisiana’s observation of Manufacturing Week, the 11th annual nationwide celebration of the sector’s continued growth and the career opportunities it has to offer.

“This investment by Deere & Company demonstrates not only the strength of Louisiana’s manufacturing sector, but the resilience and recovery of the Bayou Region,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in the release. “Manufacturing has long played a vital role in Louisiana’s economy and never more so than today, supporting more than 178,000 Louisiana workers and their families through ongoing investments in every region of the state. Thanks to Deere & Company for its commitment to Lafourche Parish, and congratulations to the skilled workers whose dedication convinced this global manufacturer to expand its footprint in our state.”

The expansion involves the development and installation of a new production line and upgraded equipment, which will allow the Thibodaux facility to begin producing medium-chassis cotton harvesting models that will replace existing models currently built in China.

“The new cotton harvesters present a huge opportunity for John Deere Thibodaux to deliver innovative and technologically advanced solutions to our customers, which will increase their productivity and profitability,” said Mike Duplantis, factory manager at John Deere Thibodaux. “This expansion is possible due to the tremendous amount of hard work and resiliency of the Thibodaux team.”

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The Thibodaux site is a design center for sugar harvesting and earth-moving scraper equipment as well as a manufacturing facility for a variety of agriculture and construction products. The company expects production of the new cotton harvesters to begin within the next two years and reach full capacity by 2025.

“John Deere’s expansion is a huge win for Lafourche,” Parish President Archie Chaisson said. “The addition of new manufacturing lines to John Deere Thibodaux shows how productive and efficient this facility is, which is a testament to the local workforce and management. The Thibodaux facility’s successful competition for these new cotton harvesters shows just how competitive Lafourche Parish can be.”

To secure the project in Thibodaux, the state offered Deere a competitive incentive package including a performance-based retention and modernization grant of up to $1 million, and the services of LED FastStart, Louisiana’s nationally acclaimed recruitment, customized training and workforce development program. The company is also expected to participate in the Industrial Tax Exemption and Enterprise Zone programs.

“It's always exciting for our community to experience new high-paying employment opportunities and a positive stimulus to our local economy,” Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete said. “John Deere Thibodaux once again illustrates its history as an outstanding corporate citizen by diversifying its production capabilities so as to remain a viable manufacturing business in the Bayou Region.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Comet: John Deere to expand Thibodaux plant, creating 70 direct jobs