Spring planting is right around the corner. And you know what that means…
Inevitable breakdowns and no time for slowdowns.
It’s this reality that has farmer groups stepping up their game, as the “right to repair” saga continues.
Refresher: Currently, some farm equipment repairs can only be performed by authorized equipment dealers due to proprietary software restrictions.
Last July, President Biden issued an executive order directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate and take action on these so-called “unfair anti-competitive restrictions.”
What’s new: A battle once relegated to state legislatures, the right to repair debate is gaining steam. Last week, the National Farmers Union filed a new complaint with the FTC, and at least six class-action lawsuits are currently making their way through the courts.
And the target of all of this litigation? John Deere.
Nothing Ru… Repairs Like a Deere: With a foothold in approximately 50% of the combine and large tractor market in North America, Deere & Co. is feeling the brunt of the battle.
Plaintiffs and petitioners say that Deere is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act—selling the equipment, and then requiring farmers to repair equipment through the company due to proprietary software.
Deere’s response? The ag giant notes that many repairs can be made by the farmer. And they are strongly against farmer software access due to safety, emissions, and performance concerns.
Where this goes: The battle rages on. But with Senator John Tester (MT) recently filing a bill with a “right to repair” guarantee for farmers, Congress may soon step in and legislatively give farmers the win.