Introducing such legislation is an important step to ensuring fairness for farmers, the National Farmers Union says
By Diego Flammini
A national ag organization has voiced its support for a piece of legislation it says would ensure fairness for producers.
The Agricultural Right to Repair Act, introduced by Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), helps establish a comprehensive framework for the right to repair farm equipment.
The bill defines what Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are required to provide to make repair accessible. If the OEM doesn’t have the tools available, they must provide information to create the tools.
It also gives the Federal Trade Authority the power to enforce these requirements.
The bill “is an important step in our fight to ensure farmers across the country have fair and affordable access to the parts, tools, and information they need to fix farm equipment,” Rod Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, said in a Sept. 20 statement.
The Public Interest Research Group and Farm Action Fund, which acts to “stop corporate monopolies and build fair competition in rural America,” also supports the right to repair.
Farmers support it too.
Having the ability to repair their own equipment will save them time.
“In farming, a tight window to plant or harvest is a fact of life. If my tractor breaks, I need to fix it – and fast. But equipment manufacturers are preventing farmers and independent mechanics from completing certain repairs on our tractors and combines, forcing us to go to the dealership,” Dennis Kellogg, a Michigan farmer, said in a statement.
Equipment manufacturers oppose any broad right to repair laws.
This kind of legislation could cause multiple issues.
It is “not only unnecessary, it would risk the safety, durability and environmental sustainability of equipment,” the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says on its website.
In the U.S., one state has passed its own right to repair law for farmers.
Colorado passed the bill on April 25, 2023, and will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Manufacturers are required to provide parts, software, tools, manuals and other items “to allow an independent repair provider or owner to conduct diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on the owner’s agricultural equipment,” the bill says.