Our hero this week is the American Farmer—all the individuals, families, farmers, and ranchers who continue to fight for our food, our livestock, the right to agriculture, the right to grow, and the ability to continue to make a living from our own land.
For years, American farmers and associations like the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) have struggled with increasing bureaucratic and technological hurdles in carrying out their agricultural and farming activities. One of the big obstacles—incurring unnecessary losses and delays and damaging farmers’ and ranchers’ businesses—are proprietary mechanisms and software put in place by tech and device manufacturers that bar farmers from repairing their own equipment.
It is unbelievably frustrating for farmers if they are not allowed to do the simplest repairs on their own tractor or find the nearest mechanic to help during harvest. Instead, repairs not only have to wait but must be done by the manufacturer’s personnel only and are subject to arbitrary pricing.
Sandwiched between the patenting of seeds and the patenting of machinery, the range of action for farmers has become incredibly limited.
Last week, American farmers garnered a victory in their decades-long struggle to secure the “right to repair” machines and equipment that they have bought and legally own. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between agricultural machinery producer John Deere and the AFBF, farmers are now able to fix tractors and harvesters directly or independently.
Even though this MOU is not a general “right to repair,” does not include any enforcement of the regulation, and is regarded by critics as a tactical move by Deere to pre-empt a growing Right-to-Repair movement, it is nevertheless a significant accomplishment and an important step toward freeing American farms and ranches from time-consuming quandaries.
Right to Repair – other advocacy groups: