By BridgeNews Deere & Co. said it will cut 1,250 jobs, or 8% of its workforce, as the Moline, Ill.-based farm equipment maker tries to cut costs and boost lagging profits caused by the slowing economy. Deere will offer 2,500 salaried employees an early retirement option and expects to record a $140 million after-tax charge in the fourth quarter tied to the program. It said the job cuts will generate annual after-tax savings of $90 million. "In pursuit of our goal to double value twice, we have been aggressively improving our processes," says Robert W. Lane, Deere's CEO. "The special early retirement offer is a part of these ongoing efforts to run lean and enhance our efficiency, competitiveness, and financial strength for future growth opportunities." Employees whose age and years of service add up to at least 80 by Oct. 31 are eligible for the program. Eligible employees will receive details of the program on July 10. Those accepting the buyout will leave Deere no later than Dec. 31. In May, Deere said its second-quarter profits fell by more than one-third as its construction and consumer equipment businesses struggled to ride out the economic slowdown. It was the third straight quarter that Deere's earnings came in below analyst expectations.