Fact Check

Why Right to Repair is Bad for Farmers and Ranchers

By Natalie Higgins
Vice President of Government Relations & General Counsel, EDA
Dec. 7, 2018

Farmers and ranchers want the ability to repair their own equipment, and we agree with them. However, Right to Repair proposals are not the solution farmers are looking for.

Farmers and ranchers have access to cutting-edge agricultural equipment that help maximize the productivity of their machinery and to minimize downtime.

With our industry commitment and the evolution of technology to allow remote diagnostic and repair, farmers and ranchers have unprecedented access to the service information they need to run their businesses. Access to diagnostic and repair information will help farmers and ranchers get their equipment back into service more quickly, saving them valuable time and money.

Farmers and ranchers do not need to modify embedded code to perform repairs.

The modification of embedded code is not routine. Agricultural equipment is designed to comply with all applicable safety and emissions standards. The ability to modify to embedded code, in fact, is sought for inappropriate purposes such as circumventing safety and emissions standards and stealing intellectual property.

Dealers provide qualified technicians to service and repair these rapidly-evolving technologies that help farmers and ranchers handle major repairs safely and in compliance with safety and emissions standards.

Using unauthorized repair providers may lead to non-compliant equipment which, in turn, creates liability and safety issues for the equipment owner. What right to repair activists don’t say is how costly illegally modifying equipment can be for equipment owners. For example Derive Systems, which manufacturers the “Bully Dog” and “SCT” chipping software systems, was fined $300,000 and will have to pay more than $6,000,000 to make sure that any future products it creates are compliant with the Clean Air Act.

Farmers and ranchers need to know that unlawful modification of equipment can void manufacturer warranties, may negatively impact trade in value and expose farmers and end users to shortened equipment life because of the operation of the equipment out of manufacturer specifications.

There are 19 states which considered Right to Repair legislation in 2018. Each and every one of those states have rejected the legislation. The agricultural equipment industry’s commitment to end users obviates the need for these overly broad bills. The equipment industry has provided a common sense solution to a market demand.