Corder's Corner

Agriculture’s Right to Repair Movement

Several agents on our team at Corder and Associates also live the farming and ranching lifestyle or are in some way part of the agricultural community. We speak a common language, whether about the bitter cold, late nights of calving season, or the long hours on a swather cutting hay for bales in the blazing summer sun. We “live the life we sell™” and assist buyers and sellers looking to sell, purchase, or invest in farms and ranches. The Consumer Right to Repair Act is a movement that indicates better things to come for farmers across the U.S.

The sun is hot. The wheat is gold and crisp, fed through the combine to be thrashed. Storm clouds bloom and billow on the horizon driving the tired crew forward to get the grain safely from the trucks into the bin. The dreaded sound of a sensor alarm begins blaring in the cab. A code prevents the combine from continuing, and the only way to remove it is to call the implement dealer and have them send out a tech or repair man. In addition to shutting down for an unknown amount of time, it is unbelievably expensive for them to travel the many miles down gravel country roads to reach the machine. In the meantime, a storm could come and knock acres of yield on the ground halting your income and costing you money. It’s a frustration that many of you can relate to. It’s the same as automobiles and cell phones. Manufacturers have made repairing items yourself difficult, expensive, and almost impossible. However, the farming community has been fighting back since 2010 by petitioning for the ability to repair agricultural equipment on their own.

In early April 2023, Colorado became the first state to pass a Consumer Right to Repair Act for farmers. Under this new legislation, all agricultural equipment manufacturers will be required to provide Colorado consumers with the resources needed for maintenance, diagnostics, and repair. This win spearheads all consumer efforts supporting the larger push for the right to repair devices and products. In other countries, this type of legislation is already the norm.

The Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act is expected to significantly reduce the cost of repair and labor for farming equipment in Colorado. Farmers will be able to maintain their equipment for longer. The bill more specifically requires that buyers have “parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation” needed to maintain machines and equipment.

Some manufacturers are worried about the growing movement, but it doesn’t show any sign of slowing. In January of this year, John Deere proactively signed a memorandum promising they’d “enhance the ability of farmers to control the lawful operation and upkeep of agricultural equipment timely.” As a result of the movement, major headway has been seen regarding legislators making proposals that support these rights. Colorado was the first state, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, progress for the ag community is just around the corner!

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