KIRKLAND, Ill. (NewsNation) — The ongoing strike at John Deere plants across several states is beginning to disrupt an already fragile U.S. food supply chain, and it could do severe damage if a solution doesn’t come soon.
More than 10,000 John Deere employees have been on strike at 14 Deere factories in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia after the United Auto Workers union rejected a contract offer. This strike is one of several labor disruptions across the country; contributing factors include pay demands and vaccine mandates.
According to Craig Robertson, who comes from a generation of Illinois farmers, the problems will get worse the longer it continues.
“I’ve basically been farming since I was old enough to walk,” Roberston said. “Farming means feeding the world.”
He spends 12 hours a day, six days a week harvesting his crops, but fear is looming as the John Deere strike continues for the second week.
“I can see trouble is coming down the road,” Roberston said.
He fears the U.S. could see major shortages that would impact grocery store aisles, hardware stores and implement dealers if a resolution doesn’t come soon.
“I’ve heard a lot of repair parts that you can’t get
Some farmers’ machines cost up to a half-million dollars, and a break could be very costly.
Robertson said he’s currently waiting for a part of one of his machines. He’s presently mending it with tape but says he hopes the part comes within the next three weeks to repair the machine.
But for other farmers, Robertson said they’ve been forced to halt production.
“This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. This is supposed to be the land of milk and honey. This is supposed to be the land of plenty,” Robertson said.