Bill Allows Farmers to Repair Own Equipment
Legislation introduced this week looks to guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market. The Agriculture Right to Repair Act, authored by Montana Democrat Jon Tester, is part of his effort to break up consolidation in the agriculture industry.
“I’ve been a farmer my whole life, and I’ve seen the unfair practices of equipment manufacturers make it harder and harder for folks to work on their tractors themselves—forcing them to go to an authorized mechanic and pay an arm and a leg for necessary repairs,” Senator Tester noted. “Manufacturers have prevented producers from fixing their own machines in order to bolster corporate profits, and they’ve done it at the expense of family farmers and ranchers, who work hard every day to harvest the food that feeds families across the country. Farmers operate in tight windows and on tight margins, and they simply can’t afford to waste time or money bringing their equipment to dealer authorized mechanics in the middle of a season. They need to be able to repair their own equipment, and this legislation will secure them that right.”
The legislation would require manufacturers to make available any documentation, part, software, or tool required to diagnose, maintain, or repair their equipment. The bill would also provide means to disable and re-enable electronic security locks for diagnostic and repair, allow for use of third-party software, and ensure parts are replaceable using commonly available tools without causing damage to the equipment.
The bill also seeks to return data ownership to farmers, as Tester claims manufacturers currently collect and sell all the data generated by farmers.
“Manufacturers have far too much control over what farmers are allowed to do with their own equipment, and this costs farmers time and money,” said Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union. “Senator Tester’s bill would give farmers and independent mechanics the freedom to fix their equipment in a timely and cost-effective way.”
“On behalf of the nation’s farmers and rural communities, we want to thank Senator Tester for introducing this legislation,” said Sarah Carden, Policy Advocate for Farm Action. “Instead of forcing farmers to haul their equipment hundreds of miles and pay out the nose for simple diagnostics, this bill gives them rights to the items they’ve purchased and lets them focus on producing food for the rest of the country — all while giving independent repair shops a chance to compete.”
Click Here to read Tester's legislation.
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