By Ashley Rice
Illinois Farm Bureau policy supports farm equipment owners’ right to maintain service, repair and rebuild their vehicle or farming equipment on their own accord or by the repair shop of their choice.
President Joe Biden’s recent executive order addresses this issue and calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.”
In response, equipment manufacturing associations and companies reiterated their support for owners’ right to repair.
“Equipment manufacturers have always supported farmers’ right to repair their own equipment and remain committed to providing them with tools and information needed to reduce downtime and maximize productivity,” said Stephanie See, Association of Equipment Manufacturers director of state government relations. “President Biden’s executive order does not change that. Farmers can already perform most repairs on their equipment. In some rare cases, where access to proprietary source code is necessary, a certified service technician may need to perform the repairs. We look forward to working with the FTC as they consider next steps and look forward to sharing our perspective with them in the coming weeks.”
John Deere estimated less than 2% of all repairs on their equipment require a software update. The company released the following statement: “John Deere supports a customer’s right to safely maintain, diagnose and repair their own equipment. To facilitate this, John Deere provides the tools, parts, information guides, training videos and manuals needed for farmers to work on their machines, including remote access for technicians to provide long-distance support.”
The Equipment Dealers Association’s policy supports legislation that protects consumers and opposes legislation that allows the widespread release of proprietary equipment repair information to unqualified persons or entities.
So, what’s next for the executive order?
“The executive order did not give us any details so unfortunately I can’t tell you how this right to repair will proceed,” Mark Gebhards, IFB executive director of governmental affairs and commodities division told RFD Radio Network. “We did have a lot of discussions with American Farm Bureau Federation staff and other state Farm Bureaus about working even outside of the executive order to address this issue. So, looking at working with the machinery dealers and equipment manufacturers to try to find a way forward here.”
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.