The field waits for no one. And in a context of inflation and raw material scarcity like the present, spending time in the fields could mean wasting an entire crop.
Faced with this situation, John Deere, an American manufacturer of agricultural machinery, has agreed with the American Federation of Agricultural Bureaus (AFBF, for its abbreviation in English) that farmers and ranchers enjoy their right to repair. The settlement is a major victory for farmer and consumer advocacy groups, who have complained for years Correct the restrictions that John Deere has placed on its products and technologyby blockade of software Up to the requirements of using official distributors for repairs. The agreement also opens the door for independent workshops to access repairs, an option that was till now limited to official distribution services. In addition, both parties will work together to develop a process for educating producers and independent repair facilities about the equipment, software and available documentation and resources for repair and maintenance of farm equipment.
“Equipment is a big investment. To help control costs, farmers should have the freedom to choose where to have equipment repaired, or do the repairs themselves. The MoU commits John Deere to ensure That farmers and independent repair crews in manufacturing facilities have access to many tools. The tools and software are essential to growing the food, fuel and fiber on which American families depend,” acknowledged Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF. “This contract reaffirms Deere’s long-standing commitment to ensuring our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to perform many repairs on their machines.
And it is that the manufacturer-imposed restrictions provoked numerous lawsuits against the company and public relations headaches in which farmers accused John Deere of interfering with their ability to plant and harvest crops on time.
MoU signed with AFBF provides farmers Access to the same John Deere documentation, data and diagnostic tools used by the company’s authorized repair shops, In this way, farmers will be able to diagnose and repair failed equipment by themselves or by selecting an independent repair facility, who will also have access to proprietary equipment and data on the same fair and reasonable terms. A measure that would lead to unauthorized workshops repairing the North American manufacturer’s farm machinery. And it is that, to date, new equipment, which includes a lot of technology, can only be repaired by official John Deere services. In exchange, AFBF officials agreed to refrain from initiating, promoting, or supporting federal or state redress legislation that imposes obligations beyond the commitments in this Memorandum of Understanding. The AFBF believed that the deal with John Deere could be used for other manufacturers, with whom talks have already begun.
right of repair
All this with the aim of avoiding long weeks of waiting for an official repair, which could undermine cropping programs in North American regions, And no wonder, because according to a report by the US Public Interest Group (PIRG), since John Deere controls 53% of the large tractor market in the United States and has been trying to strengthen its dealer network since the mid-2000s doing work. Such is the consolidation of its distribution network that the North American producer has a chain of dealers for every 12,018 farms and every 5.3 million acres (over 2.14 million hectares) of US farmland.
The truth is that the so-called right to repair has become a battleground in the agriculture industry. The problem is so widespread that in 2021 an executive order from the White House asked the Federal Trade Commission to develop new rules aimed at promoting the right to repair. The right to repair is so important that in late 2022 New York will become the first state in the United States to legislate on it. However, this regulation was watered down at the last minute because, among the commitments included, the law only affects devices manufactured and sold in New York as of July 1, 2018. Similarly, medical devices, home appliances, and automobiles remained outside the digital fair repair law.