By Jean-Paul MacDonald, Farms.com
On Tuesday, Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to pass a "right to repair" law that ensures farmers have the ability to fix their own equipment. The law forces manufacturers to provide farmers with the necessary manuals, tools, parts, and software. At least 10 other states have introduced similar legislation, including Florida, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont.
Farmers across the country have been calling for the right to repair their equipment for years, as they often have to wait for services to arrive when machines break down, which can result in crop losses or missed planting windows.
Manufacturers and dealerships had opposed the legislation, citing concerns that providing information and tools to farmers could lead to safety and environmental risks. They also argued that the law would expose trade secrets.
Supporters of the law acknowledged that it could make it easier for operators to modify horsepower and emissions controls but argued that farmers are already able to tinker with their machines and doing so would remain illegal.
The "right to repair" campaign has been gaining momentum across the country, with similar legislation being introduced for a range of products, from iPhones to hospital ventilators. In 2014, the automotive industry signed a memorandum of understanding that gave independent mechanics and car owners access to tools and parts. Two years ago, President Joe Biden directed the Federal Trade Commission to increase its right-to-repair enforcement.