Opinion: Farmers’ right-to-repair fight in the U.S. just getting started

Mar 30, 2023

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Before a January memorandum of understanding on a farmer’s right to repair his farm machinery, American equipment makers and their farm and ranch customers were locked in a legal and legislative fight over who could fix today’s complex ag machinery — the customer who owned or leased it, or the maker that designed, built and held its warranty.

But, say agricultural law experts, the trumpeted MOU between Deere & Co., the world’s largest farm machinery manufacturer, and the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s biggest farm group, is unenforceable.

They said the MOU offers no binding legal rights to either farmers or manufacturers and doesn’t stop any farmer or farm group from continuing their court and legislative fights for their “right to repair.”

Today’s farm machinery, especially tractors and combines, are driven more by software than diesel and their day-in, day-out performance swings as much on electrons and algorithms as cylinder compression and hydraulic hookups.

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