COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Farming equipment is expensive and plays a major role in the ability of Colorado farmers to get the work done that’s necessary to produce the products that help feed our communities, but getting that equipment repaired often presents another set of challenges.
The machinery you will find on a farm today often contains high-tech sensors and computer software, which means that when they break down, farmers often lack what they need to make the fix. Due to licensing agreements, only the manufacturer can help.
This means crucial equipment can sit in disrepair for extended periods of time. And with only the manufacturer able to make the fix, farmers say it can be expensive.
But News5 has learned about a recent agreement between American farmers and John Deere at a conference in Puerto Rico that aims to chart a more convenient course that benefits consumers.
”This is an issue that’s been a priority for us for several years and has taken a lot of work to get to this point,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
This a breakthrough for our farmers after years of frustration with expensive equipment breakdowns and a narrow path to repairs.
”We did have problems with having the opportunity to repair our equipment where we wanted to or either repair it on the farm. A lot of times, dealers are several hours away in different parts of the country,” said Duvall.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has reached an agreement with John Deere giving farmers the so-called "right to repair" that equipment.
“This memorandum of understanding with John Deere, it ensures our farmers that they can repair their equipment and have access to the diagnostic tools and the product guides so that they can find the problems and find solutions for them,” said Duvall.
According to those involved in the deal, for the first time, the agreement commits John Deere to ensure that farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to keep the equipment running. It’s a move that could significantly lower some of the costs for our food producers.
”Machinery and equipment and the products that our customers invest in are a large investment. The opportunity for them to maximize the uptime of that equipment and minimize the downtime is an important area of focus for our organization and the industry,” said John Deere Senior Vice President For Farm Sales David Gilmore.
According to this agreement, John Deere and will meet with the American Farm Bureau Federation at least twice per year to see if there should be changes to the arrangement going forward.
At News5, we’re planning continuing coverage as we track the impact of this “right to repair” agreement on farmers across southern Colorado. If you or someone you know is directly impacted, we’d love to hear from you.
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