Four Democrats in Congress last week introduced the Agricultural Right to Repair Act to increase the ability of farmers to fix their own belongings.
Currently, some manufacturers of agricultural equipment have rules about who can run diagnostics, maintain and repair certain creations.
In a news release from U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez last week, Rob Baur, a farmer in Ridgefield, recalls buying a John Deere tractor that asked for engine service “within five minutes” of being fired up.
“Not being able to get diagnostic information about the error has disrupted my ability to farm. … And a service appointment was available weeks away,” Baur is quoted as saying in the release. “I need a way for me or an independent mechanic to get the error code and decode it to get information about the problem.”
Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, is among the four representatives to introduce the legislation, which defines the information manufacturers would have to provide in order to make repairs accessible, the news release said.
“If the (manufacturer) does not have the digital or physical tools available, they are required to provide sufficient information to create the tools,” the release stated.
The bill would also give the Federal Trade Commission ability to enforce requirements and to make a rule to assist in the implementation of these requirements.
Other sponsors of the Agriculture Right to Repair Act are Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colorado, Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, and Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia.
“In farming, a tight window to plant or harvest is a fact of life. If my tractor breaks, I need to fix it — and fast,” said Dennis Kellogg, a farmer from Michigan, in the news release. “But equipment manufacturers are preventing farmers and independent mechanics from completing certain repairs on our tractors and combines, forcing us to go to the dealership. That’s why I want the right to repair.”