Deere & Co. has restricted travel to Russia and Ukraine for its employees as conflict in the region threatens two large markets for the Moline-based company.
Deere has two factories and an operations office in Russia and has a marketing office in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.
The region accounts for less than 5 percent of Deere's annual equipment sales, according to Deere spokesman Ken Golden, but is an area ripe for growth.
There was hope Thursday that an agreement between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the European Union would defuse the conflict, which has seen Russia seize control of the Ukrainian territory in Crimea.
However, University of Iowa associate professor of finance Art Durnev, who is Russian, said the conflict had produced "tremendous uncertainty" for western companies such as Deere operating in the region.
Mr. Durnev said the unpredictability meant Deere and other western companies are likely to put any plans for new investment in the region on ice.
Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe against Russia have focused on wealthy individuals and the banking sector so far.
But Mr. Durnev said if sanctions were extended to other sectors, Russia could retaliate in ways that would hurt western companies such as Deere.
Deere employees and dealers travel frequently between Russia, Ukraine and the U.S., Mr. Durnev said.
The company's foundation also sponsors an agricultural-development training program in schools in Russia and Ukraine.
"We have taken steps to ensure the safety of our employees, including restrictions of travel in the region as well as other measures," Mr. Golden said.
He said Deere was monitoring the situation in Ukraine and Russia closely but added there had been no impact on the company's operations in the region from the conflict so far.
"We support solutions that can be achieved without violence and in accord with international agreements," Mr. Golden said.
Ukraine traditionally was known as the "breadbasket" of Russia and remains a major producer of wheat and corn, while the agricultural sector in Russia has been "booming" in recent years, Mr. Durnev noted.
Deere's Russian factories are located in Domodedovo, where agriculture, construction and forestry equipment are manufactured, and Orenburg, where seeding equipment is developed, according to Mr. Golden.
Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States. 1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment. 1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan. 1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war. 1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs. 1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.