A majority of surveyed farmers believe they should be able to repair their own equipment
By Diego Flammini
Ag equipment organizations polled American farmers to find out how much they know about right to repair.
The survey, commissioned by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), included more than 500 U.S. producers.
Of the surveyed farmers, about 75 per cent believe that they already have the right to repair, and around 70 per cent feel they should be able to conduct repairs to all aspects of their equipment.
But only about 28 per cent of the respondents are aware of right to repair legislation, said Stephanie See, director of state government relations with AEM.
“We’re seeing these right to repair bills come up across the country and it’s always promoted as a farmer-led initiative,” she told Farms.com. “But in doing this survey we found many farmers aren’t even aware of this, so how can they be leading it?”
Some of the legislation around right to repair also includes cell phones, appliances and medical devices. Some kinds of businesses would benefit greatly from the access to those kinds of embedded source codes, See said.
Ag equipment manufacturers are working to provide farmers with the tools they need to complete repairs by 2021.
But the embedded source codes within the machinery needs to be protected, See said.
“There’s a difference between repairing equipment and tampering with it,” she said. “By tampering we mean (changing source codes) to defeat emissions control or safety controls.”
Producers are optimistic about what the future holds for repairing their own machinery.
Brian Voss, a cash crop producer from DeKalb County, Ill., owns multiple brands of machinery and welcomes the new repair capabilities.
“It’s a step in the right direction so it’ll be interesting to see what the manufacturers come out with,” he told Farms.com. “We run a rainbow fleet of different combines, tractors and other equipment, so we run the gamut when working with dealers and getting service because not everybody operates the same way.”
Voss doesn’t view accessing the embedded code as a necessary component to repairing equipment.
“As far as our farm is concerned, nobody is going to be looking for the embedded code to make anything go faster,” he said. “I don’t have the time or the expertise to get into the ones and zeroes of code. What we want, is to look at a code, identify what the problem is, make the repair and clear the code afterwards.”