John Deere gives U.S. farmers right to repair equipment

John Deere gives U.S. farmers right to repair equipment

 U.S. manufacturer John Deere has agreed to allow American farmers the right to repair their own equipment, according to a U.S. agriculture industry lobby group.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a U.S. insurance company and lobby group, announced Sunday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with John Deere that ensures any farmer or independent repair facility will be able to repair its equipment.

Prior to the agreement, owners of John Deere equipment were barred from modifying and repairing their purchased equipment, needing to only use John Deere parts and associated repair facilities to do so.

The restriction has been met with criticism from farmers while John Deere has argued it is in order to protect the equipment’s safe operation, to ensure emissions compliance and engine performance and warranty validation.

The AFBF said Sunday that the agreement it entered with John Deere followed years of discussions, and that it addresses long-running issues for farmers and ranchers while protecting the U.S. manufacturer’s intellectual property rights.

“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,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “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.”

The MOU — which was signed Sunday during the 2023 AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico — specifically gives farmers access to diagnostic and repair codes and manuals as well as product guides while ensuring they will be able to purchase related tools directly from John Deere and receive assistance when ordering parts.

It also creates a mechanism for farmers to lodge concerns with John Deere, which also commits to working with farmers and dealers to resolve any issues.

John Deere and the AFBF are to meet semiannually to evaluate the progress of the agreement.

“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,” David Gilmore, John Deere senior vice president of Ag & Turf sales and marketing, said in a statement.

“We look forward to working alongside the American Farm Bureau and our customers in the months and years ahead to ensure farmers continue to have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.”

The announcement comes amid growing attention in the United States to consumers demanding the right to repair equipment, often electronics, that they own.

In November, Apple announced that starting this year customers will be able to repair their own Apple devices.

That announcement followed U.S. President Joe Biden in July signing an executive order to clamp down on unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair items imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent consumers, primarily farmers and electronics users, from repairing their own equipment.

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