John Deere dealer AgriVision Inc. of Glenwood, Iowa, is cutting 28 people from its full-time workforce of 350 because of lagging sales triggered by the downturn in grain prices, CEO Jeremy Ostrander said Monday. 

In order to reduce costs, AgriVision is offering early retirement plans to staff members over the next 3-4 months. Most of the employees who lost their jobs were in sales and support positions and are receiving severance pay and assistance in finding new work. 

“We’ve been around this business long enough that we know these cycles in the agriculture industry,” Ostrander said. “We started making some expense reductions as far back as 18 months ago and chiseled away as much as we could prior to cutting spending on the personnel side of the business."

He said the company’s parts and service business “is still going strong” and is likely to expand as farmers repair and maintain equipment rather than buying new.

Ostrander said farmers bought so much new equipment during the high-income years of 2010-13 that their equipment fleet is as new as it has ever been. Much of their old equipment has been exported to other nations.

Last fall, John Deere’s manufacturing plants laid off more than 1,000 employees, including some in Iowa.