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Farm Action Wants FTC Action on Right to Repair

Farm Action submitted public comments regarding the Right to Repair issue in U.S. agriculture. The group wants the Federal Trade Commission to initiate a rulemaking process on the subject. Joe Maxwell, co-founder and chief strategy officer with Farm Action, says the right to repair is an important issue for the group.

Maxwell says, “We’re a farmer-led organization. Far too often, we’ve seen John Deere and the other major agricultural equipment manufacturers consolidate their dealerships, and today, many farmers have to travel hours to get to the dealership. Our equipment breaks down in the field sometimes just because of an error on a sensor, and we don’t have the ability, or that farmer doesn’t have the ability to repair that equipment without contacting that dealer miles and miles away. Oftentimes, they have a backlog, and our equipment is down for days and weeks. Sometimes, we have to haul it in simply to have them hook it up to a computer and find that a sensor malfunctioned. That is a delay in the field, which costs money and time that sometimes we farmers just don’t have.”

Farming is already a stressful occupation, and broken-down machinery that can’t get fixed quickly makes it much worse. Maxwell says, “Farmers are already under a lot of stress with low margins, weather events, extreme weather patterns, and then to have your piece of equipment when you finally have a window open to be able to either harvest or to plant or to spray suddenly has an error code knock you out of operations. It’s very stressful, and it is costly.”

The group says FTC has the authority and responsibility to regulate the right to repair issue under existing antitrust law. Maxwell talks about how costly the problem truly is for American farmers.

Maxwell says, “It’s estimated that this issue of agricultural equipment manufacturers controlling the repair of that equipment and preventing the right to repair it by the farmer or someone of their choice costs as much as $4.2 billion per year. It’s real money in the pockets of America’s family farmers and ranchers.”

For more information, go to farmaction.us.

Story courtesy of the NAFB News Service

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