AGCO ransomware attack disrupts tractor sales during US planting season

U.S. farm machinery maker AGCO said on Friday a ransomware attack had affected operations at some of its manufacturing plants, and dealers said sales of tractors stalled during the crucial planting season.

Georgia-based AGCO said in a statement it expects operations at some facilities to be impacted for “several days and possibly longer.”

The ransomware attack comes at a time when U.S. farm equipment manufacturers were already facing ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor strikes that made it impossible for them to meet farmers’ demand for equipment.

AGCO did not disclose the names of the facilities or whether any data was stolen, but said it was still investigating the extent of Thursday’s attack and was working to fix its systems.

Tim Brannon, president and owner of B&G Equipment in Tennessee, told Reuters that he has been unable to access the AGCO website to order and look up parts since Thursday morning.

“We just have to have faith that it will be over as soon as possible because we are coming into our busiest time of the year and it will be very damaging to our business and our customers,” Brannon said.

AGCO, which competes with larger competitor Deere & Co, sells tractors and combines, manufactures and assembles products at 42 locations worldwide with 1,810 dealerships in North America.

Merchants are now struggling to keep up with orders already on backorder.

The company told traders it was “prioritizing” the most business-critical systems in an email read to Reuters by a trader who declined to be identified.

“I have about nine orders to place now,” the retailer said.

He said AGCO had informed him that “digital systems” were affected worldwide.

AGCO did not respond to requests for further comment.

Shares of AGCO fell 6 percent to $125.55 (about Rs.9,600) in late afternoon trading.

Ransomware attacks have targeted food and fuel companies across the United States in recent years, including the Colonial Pipeline oil network and meat processing company JBS. Last fall, at least three grain merchants in the Midwest were hit by ransomware attacks.

© Thomson Reuters 2022 AGCO ransomware attack disrupts tractor sales during US planting season

Ryan Sederquist

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