Farmers and Ranchers Take up the Fight
American Farm Bureau Federation - National Policy Resolution for Right to Repair
National Farmers Union - National Policy Supporting Right to Repair
Iowa Farm Bureau -
Michigan Farm Bureau -
Nebraska Farm Bureau - Policy Resolution for Right to Repair
New York Farm Bureau - Memo of Support for Right to Repair in New York
Texas Farm Bureau -
John Deere and AEM Fight Back.
John Deere has sent letters of opposition to legislators with every bill filed. They all say the same thing -- that allowing anyone other than the Deere Dealership to repair their equipment will result in:
- the unsafe operation of its products
- disruption of machine capabilities and performance
- changes to emissions controls
- voiding of warranties
- lack of transparency to changes on resale, and
- a less-than-optimal customer experience
Apparently Deere doesn't care much for equipment ownership and wants to retain the right to tell owners what to do, and how to enjoy, products that they no longer own.
For the Kansas version with our rebuttal -- click here.
AEM - Letter of Opposition and Repair Policies
Hot News: Nebraska Farm Bureau voted overwhelmingly to support Right to Repair !
Quoting the Resolution passed Monday, December 7, 2016
RIGHT TO REPAIR (New Title) (Pg. 12) We support the ability of ag producers to timely repair their equipment through access to all diagnostic equipment and repair information.
Manufacturers, through their dealers, have maintained an exclusive right to information and materials necessary for diagnostic and repair activities. Nebraska Farm Bureau supports development of policy similar to that used in the automotive and commercial vehicle industries which have agreed to provide similar information to their customers and independent mechanics on a fair and reasonable basis.
Nebraska Farm Bureau encourages legislation that requires manufacturers to offer products and the related diagnostic equipment and repair information for sale or use in Nebraska.
This resolution and others will be in front of the AFBF national conference for possible adoption.
AEM/EDA hostile towards Right to Repair
We take it as a sign of progress that AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers) and EDA (Equipment Dealers Association) are in public opposition to Fair Repair and Right to Repair bills. They don't have any new or better arguments in support of repair monopolies -- so we welcome all debates.
Repair.Org: "Slide by Slide Analysis"
The key point to keep in mind when discussing using technology products in Agriculture is that the high-tech components are the same regardless of the shape or size of the housings.
Tractor-shaped computers should be repairable just like car-shaped, truck-shaped or computer-shaped computers. Even when the outsides look different -- the electronics are the same.
Repair.Org "Fast Facts about Right to Repair"
Media Coverage Expands:
Bloomberg BNA: "When High Tech Tractors Break - Right to Repair Crops Up"
Radio Station KRVN has continued to cover Right to Repair - you may need to scroll down the podcasts to find the June 15 recording - only 4 minutes.
North Platte Bulletin: Published Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen's Op-ED
IFix Omaha driving petition signatures for consumers to get involved. You can contact your legislators and tell your repair story through our letter widget. Or you can call or contact your representatives on your own. Every contact helps raise awareness.
Recorded: Right to Repair Panel Discussion
High Tech Agriculture in the Digital Age - June 14, 2016 10 AM Central
• Status of Right to Repair agreements and bills in Nebraska and elsewhere
• Positions and concerns raised by agricultural associations
• Linkages with other industries
• Federal Copyright Law Exemption for Tinkering – Impacts and Questions
• Manufacturer concerns
Introduction by Senator Jerry Johnson, Chairman, Agriculture Committee
• Kenneth Roefelson - President Abilene Machine
• John Hanson - President Nebraska Farmers Union
• Jordan Dux - Director National Affairs, Nebraska Farm Bureau
• Ben Gottshall - Bold Nebraska
• Jason DeWater - iFixOmaha
• Kyle Wiens - Founder, iFixit
The REpair.org story Began in California:
Electronics are making equipment harder to repair.
Kerry Adams, a family farmer in Santa Maria, Calif., found that out the hard way when he bought two transplanter machines for north of $100,000 apiece. They broke down soon afterward, and he had to fly a factory technician out to fix them.
Tools, manuals, and parts are difficult to come by.
Because manufacturers have copyrighted the service manuals, local mechanics can’t fix modern farming equipment. And today’s equipment—packed with sensors and electronics—is too complex to repair without them. That’s a problem for farmers, who can’t afford to pay the dealer’s high maintenance fees for fickle equipment.
Adams gave up on getting his transplanters fixed; it was just too expensive to keep flying technicians out to his farm. Now, the two transplanters sit idle, and he can’t use them to support his farm and his family.
Equipment-makers have a stranglehold on repair. They rigorously guard access to diagnostic software, most won't sell parts or proprietary tools to independent mechanics, and many won't release service documents for a fair price. Many manufacturers also leverage US copyright law to limit access to a tractor's diagnostic systems and programming—ensuring that when tractors breaks, only "authorized" repair shops have the software tools necessary to repair them.
Farmers should be able to REpair Their Equipment
The National Grange agrees: “On behalf of over 200,000 members of the National Grange, we fully support the Right to Repair Act because we believe in an owner’s right to maintain, service, repair and rebuild their vehicle or farming equipment on their own accord or by the repair shop of their choice. Our members, most of them located in rural areas, value their ability and freedom to fix and repair their own vehicles, tractors and other farm equipment. Should they seek assistance elsewhere, local repair shops should have access to all necessary computer codes and service information in order to properly and efficiently make repairs.
“In addition, we believe that in the absence of the Right to Repair Act, many individuals, both rural and urban, would likely put off important vehicle repairs and maintenance, jeopardizing their safety and the safety of others on the road. It is also important to note that our members often farm and ranch in remote locations where repair shops are just not available. Days waiting on parts from dealers can mean missing crop target pricing, costing our members in agriculture a great deal of revenue.”
Farmers are Fighting Back
More and more, farmers are turning to the internet to learn how to repair their complex equipment. They are turning to websites like iFixit to share techniques for maintaining equipment.
But it's not enough.
We're fighting for farmers. They deserve to be able to repair their equipment quickly—and on their own terms. We are working to pass Fair Repair legislation at the state level that would put farmers back in control of the repair of their own equipment. And we've successfully petitioned the Copyright Office to carve out protection for modifications and repairs made to the software in tractors. We will continue to fight for the rights of farmers to repair what they own.
We need to require manufacturers make equipment field-serviceable.
Additional Information and Articles:
- "New High-Tech Farm Equipment Is a Nightmare for Farmers," WIRED
- "DIY Tractor Repair Runs Afoul Of Copyright Law," NPR
- John Deere claims farmers don't fully own their tractors
- Bold Nebraska supports Fair Repair legislation
- National Corn Growers concerned about Copyright Law's impact on farmers
- Copyright Office allows farmers to repair software on their tractors
- New York Farm Bureau backs Fair Repair legislation
- "Before I Can Fix This Tractor, We Have to Fix Copyright Law," Slate
- Repair.org Executive Director testifies for Fair Repair in Nebraska
- Manufacturers Try to Defend Anti-Repair Policies