Farm Bureau, John Deere sign ‘right to repair’ agreement  |

Farm Bureau, John Deere sign ‘right to repair’ agreement 

Courtesy photo Deere & Company
Visual Services-East Moline | Field

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and a John Deere official signed a memorandum of understanding here Sunday that they said “ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ right to repair their own farm equipment.”
The MOU, signed at Farm Bureau’s annual convention, is the culmination of several years of discussions with John Deere over complaints by farmers that, as farm equipment has become more dependent on computers, they have lost their ability to repair it themselves or to go to local, independent repair shops for repairs.
9F5904F7-E292-4429-954B-341A2EBAF417David Gilmore, the senior vice president for ag and turf sales and marketing for John Deere, explains the memorandum of understanding on the right to repair machinery that Deere has signed with the American Farm Bureau Federation. At his side is Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.
Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and David Gilmore, the John Deere senior vice president for ag and turf sales and marketing, signed the agreement at a news conference following Duvall’s speech in which he informed the membership of the agreement.
In his speech, Duvall said Farm Bureau had tried to reach agreement with equipment manufacturers because “action from the government isn’t always the best option.”
It is unclear whether the agreement will satisfy farmers who have urged Congress to write a law giving farmers the right to repair equipment. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced a bill to put the right to repair machinery into law.
In an analysis, DTN/Progressive Farmer noted, “The memorandum of understanding (MOU) will give farmers and third-party mechanics the ability to pay for subscriptions or access to Deere diagnostic tools and product guides needed to make repairs.”
“In return for signing the agreement, AFBF agrees to encourage state Farm Bureau organizations to back the MOU and decline from ‘introducing, promoting, or supporting federal or state right to repair legislation‘ that goes beyond the obligations spelled out in the six-page MOU.”
DTN also noted, “The MOU comes while Deere is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by farmers in at least eight states against the manufacturer.”
DTN reported in November that the lawsuit alleges Deere has tried to monopolize the repair service market for John Deere brand agricultural equipment with onboard central computers known as engine control units, or ECUs.
Asked by The Hagstrom Report whether the agreement means that Farm Bureau members who own John Deere equipment are in a better position than owners of machinery made by other equipment manufacturers, Sam Kieffer, the vice president of public policy for Farm Bureau, said that the organization remains open to reaching agreement with other manufacturers.
Richard Wilkins, a member of the Farm Bureau advisory committee that helped develop the agreement, told The Hagstrom Report that it should allow farmers to gain access to repairs for a “reasonable” price while also not allowing farmers to turn off any safety or pollution control features.In a news release, Duvall said the agreement “addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information and resources, while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety.”
“A piece of equipment is a major investment. Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs. The MOU commits John Deere to ensuring farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber America’s families rely on.”
Gilmore said, “This agreement reaffirms the longstanding commitment Deere has made to ensure our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines.”

–The Hagstrom Report