The ‘Right to Repair’ Is Here

Jul 9, 2021

Time to open the tool chest and hire an in-house mechanic.

Thanks to an executive order that will soon be signed by President Biden, farmers may be making fewer trips to the dealership for repairs.

The rundown: On Tuesday, The White House announced the president would soon be directing the Federal Trade Commission to establish new “right to repair” rules.

If implemented, farmers would likely have more options for repairing their own equipment.

A bit more context: Various equipment manufacturers essentially require some repairs to be completed at dealerships or authorized repair companies who use proprietary software, parts, and tools.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated new rules would increase competition in the industry and “give farmers the right to repair their own equipment how they like.”

But equipment manufacturers, most notably Deere & Company, responded.

A soundbite: “When customers buy from John Deere, they own the equipment and can choose to personally maintain or repair the product… John Deere does not support the right to modify embedded software due to risks associated with [safety], emissions compliance, and engine performance,”  noted a Deere & Co. company statement.

The green tractor folks stated they lead the industry in providing the tools and resources needed for repairs and maintenance. They also noted less than 2% of repairs require software updates, so a majority of repairs can be made by farmers themselves.

Where this goes: The details of the rules are still to be determined by the FTC. So change may be on the horizon, but hiring a new mechanic over the weekend may be a little premature.