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DUBUQUE (AP) — Equipment manufacturer John Deere has hired about 250 workers in Dubuque since last fall thanks to surging demand for new products.

The Telegraph Herald reports the John Deere Dubuque Works facility now employs 1,300 production workers, its highest total since 2000. There are another 1,300 employees at the plant who work in other capacities such as engineering, sales and marketing.

General Manager Mark Dickson said he predicts adding another 50 workers by October.

Dickson said the increasing orders and additional hires have boosted morale at the facility.

"There are new jobs and new opportunities, and we are making things we haven't made before," Dickson said. "I think that creates a great atmosphere and makes the people here upbeat and excited."

The facility has also invested in equipment, such as large machining centers and robotic-welding systems, Dickson said.

The company has added four new products to its Production-Class Dozer line this year. The line includes the 1050K Crawler Dozer and the 950K Power Angle Tilt.

The factory has been producing the Power Angle Tilt as quickly as possible to meet demand, said Dawn Lueken, Deere's program manager for crawlers.

"There is so much enthusiasm in the market," Lueken said.

The plant also started producing two versions of the 1050k Pipelayer Ready Crawlers, which have different lifting capacities.

The crawlers can support huge pipes that are lowered into trenches, which are important to the energy sector, said Nathan Horstman, product marketing manager.

"This has opened up a whole new market for us," he said.

The increases come a year after the company experienced layoffs and lagging sales.

The company laid off nearly 100 Dubuque plant employees in 2016. Its construction and forest division had an operating loss of $17 million at the end of fiscal year 2016.

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