Colorado passes right-to-repair law for farmers

Colorado passes right-to-repair law for farmers
Apr 28, 2023

It’s the first U.S. state to pass such legislation

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Colorado is the first state to have right-to-repair legislation for farmers signed into law.

Governor Jared Polis signed the bill on April 25, paving the way for farmers in the state to repair their own pieces of farm equipment and ensuring manufacturers make the necessary resources accessible.

As of Jan. 1, 2024, manufacturers are required to provide parts, software, tools, manuals and other items “to allow an independent repair provider or owner to conduct diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on the owner’s agricultural equipment,” the bill says.

Signing this piece of legislation will help ensure farmers spend more time in the field and fewer hours waiting for repairs, Gov. Polis said.

“Farmers and ranchers can lose precious weeks and months when equipment repairs are stalled due to long turnaround times by manufacturers and dealers,” he said, USA Today reported. “This bill will change that.”

Farmers support the bill.

Right-to-repair legislation means producers have choice in how a piece of equipment is repaired, said Chad Franke, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.

“This bill protects the rights of farmers and ranchers to choose how they repair their equipment and to have that work done in a timely manner,” he said in a statement. “Lawmakers understood the immediate importance of this bill because of the farmers who showed up and told their stories of how the right to repair makes sense.”

The Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Colorado Association of Wheat Growers also supported this bill, Franke said.

Some members of the ag industry, however, don’t support broad right-to-repair legislation.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, for example, says this kind of law can be a safety issue.

“It would risk the safety, durability and environmental sustainability of equipment,” the organization says on its website. “To encourage innovation and regulatory compliance, manufacturers and dealers will not allow access to back-end source code which can be used to reset safety features, reprogram control units, or change settings that affect emissions and safety compliance.”

Earlier in the year, the American Farm Bureau Federation signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with John Deere, Case IH and New Holland.

Under these MOUs, the manufacturers will provide farmers and repair shops with access to tools, software and other resources. And it encourages other organizations to recognize the MOUs and refrain from supporting federal or state right to repair legislation.