(ThePatriotWire)- The “Right to Repair” movement, which advocates for a farmer’s right to maintain and repair machinery, is gaining traction in the United States.
To fix their agricultural equipment and avoid costly labor expenses and delays, farmers would need access to diagnostic and repair information from manufacturers.
Manufacturers of medical equipment, automobiles, and other items that employ software and telematics for remote diagnosis and maintenance have been vocal in their resistance to the trend during the last several years. They argue that granting advocates access to diagnostic software and telemetry data might compromise their intellectual property rights, void warranties, and compromise device safety standards.
Nonetheless, 11 states, including Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont, have introduced measures enabling farmers to legally repair farm equipment due to financial strains on the agricultural sector.
At the state level, at least 27 governments have discussed or are contemplating passing similar laws.
In recent years, smartphones and even hospital ventilators were included in this expansion of the “right to repair” campaign.
New York was the first state to implement a “right to repair” legislation in June last year, mandating that electronics manufacturers provide customers and third-party repair shops with the necessary equipment to mend broken items.
Democrat lawmakers in Colorado have been at the forefront of advocating for the “right to repair,” while Republicans are torn between populist voters who desire the freedom to fix their appliances and business interests who campaign against such measures.
There were nine in favor and four against in the agricultural committee of the state Legislature.
While Republican State Representative Ron Weinberg of Colorado voted in favor of the bill, most of his fellow Republicans on the committee opposed it.
John Deere, a major agricultural equipment manufacturer, and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a Washington, DC-based farmer lobbying organization, inked a right-to-repair memorandum of understanding (MOU) on January 8.
John Deere has agreed to let farmers do their repairs by giving them access to subscriptions or sales of diagnostic and repair software, tools, and instructions.
Consumers and third-party service centers will still be prohibited from disclosing confidential business information and making any changes to the vehicle’s emission controls.
Pricing for diagnostic tools varies, with a one-year license for a technical handbook going for as much as $3,160 (as shown on the company’s website).