If a part on your tractor or other piece of farm equipment breaks, you should have the right to fix it yourself. Seems like a no-brainer … right? Not so fast – the issue is more controversial than you may realize.
Farmers in Nebraska, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York may be the first to be affected. That’s because these four states are considering legislation that would require that farm machinery be repaired only by a certified technician. That has upset some farmers in these areas,, including Waverly, Neb., farmer Mick Minchow.
“I want it to be my call,” he recently told the Associated Press. “I don’t want to make two trips to the service department – one to diagnose it and one to fix it.”
On the other hand, equipment manufacturers are worried that undue tinkering exposes them to copyright, trade secrets or other contractual liabilities. Also, farmers who buy used equipment could be in for a bad surprise if they find the previous owner has made software changes they don’t like.
On AgriTalk, four industry experts recently met up to talk through the pros and cons of these so-called “fair repair” legislations. They included:
- Natalie Higgins, vice president of government relations for the Equipment Dealers Association
- William Bernhard, technical and safety services manager for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers
- Gay Gordon Byrne, executive director of Repair.org
- Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit
In case you missed it, here’s your chance to catch up with their engaging discussion on the issues below.