Trump Is Among Biggest Buyers of Deere Golf-Course Machines

(Bloomberg) -- As an owner of golf courses, President Donald Trump needs to keep his fairways in good condition. And that makes him a major customer of Deere & Co., something he was keen to share with an audience in Iowa on Thursday.

"I bought a lot of John Deere equipment, millions and millions and millions of dollars worth of John Deere equipment, one of their bigger customers they tell me," Trump said during a roundtable discussion at Northeast Iowa Community College, just outside of Dubuque.

Deere confirmed Trump golf courses are among its biggest customers -- but specifically for its golf-equipment line, which includes mowers and aerators. The business is a relatively small segment of Deere’s agricultural machinery unit, the world’s largest, and didn’t get a mention in the company’s most recent earnings statement.

That wasn’t the only presidential plug for Deere. Trump walked into the room with a stack of green-and-yellow baseball caps emblazoned with the slogan “Make Our Farmers Great Again."

"Because we have a lot of farmers in this place, we had this hat made up," Trump said, showing off the one of the caps. "It’s the John Deere colors."

Ken Golden, a spokesman for Moline, Illinois-based Deere -- the sponsor of the John Deere Classic tournament, a fixture on the PGA Tour -- said the company’s trademark combination green-and-yellow doesn’t apply to hats, and that Deere had no involvement in the creation of the cap displayed by Trump.

Deere’s copyright on the colors does apply to equipment, however. The combination qualifies as a “famous” trademark since the late 1960s, according to a court ruling last year.

Shares of Deere dropped 0.5 percent to $141.99 at 10:40 a.m. in New York. They rose 3.2 percent Tuesday on speculation that the $12 billion aid package for U.S. farmers announced by the Trump administration will support tractor purchases. Chief Executive Officer Sam Allen said in March that the company is worried that rising trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries could hurt sales.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.