Do you think of yourself at Tim “the tool man” Taylor from Home Improvement? Do you take pride in your equipment? Do you like to fix it yourself when repairs are needed? “I don’t think so Tim!” Stop right there because those dreams are being crushed right before your “I don’t need to take it to a shop, I can fix this tractor myself” eyes. A small advocacy group in Nebraska has published an op-ed promoting what is commonly known as “Right to Repair” legislation. They are debating that Right to Repair will point to heightened competition and decreased prices for consumers. This movement is questioning the ability of manufacturers to keep copyrighted software and other technical information and products in the hands of only an authorized dealer network. This means that if the owner’s equipment needs repairs an authorized dealer is where it needs to go instead of the owner being allowed to fix it. This legislation does little to protect the consumers and instead threatens both safety and environmental protections.
Farmers are now fighting back to regain control of their equipment. Currently New York, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Minnesota are participating in the Fair Repair legislation. It’s a proposed legislation that would require the manufacturers of farming equipment to provide diagnostic, technical and service information to farmers and independent mechanics.
Right now manufacturers are using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to block farmers and heavy equipment owners from repairing their own machinery. How can you the farmer help?
Farmers can start by contacting whoever represents the legislature for that state. Tell them that you want the right to repair your equipment and support a bipartisan Fair Repair Bill. Repair should be fair, affordable, and accessible. It’s good for he consumers, the environment, and good for businesses.