Tractor manufacturer John Deere has agreed to give its American customers the right to repair their own equipment.
Previously, farmers could only use authorized parts and service centers instead of cheaper independent repair options.
Deere and Co. is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural equipment.
Consumer groups have been calling on companies for years to allow their customers to fix everything from smartphones to tractors.
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Deere & Co. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sunday.
“It solves a long-standing problem for farmers and ranchers to access tools, information and resources while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and keeping equipment safe,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF.
Under the agreement, equipment owners and independent technicians will not be allowed to “disclose trade secrets” or “include safety or emission control features or adjust farm equipment power levels.”
The company looks forward to working with the AFBF and “our customers over the coming months and years to provide farmers with the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.” – Dave Gilmore, Senior Vice President, Deere & Co. . he said.
Farmers are part of the grassroots right-to-repair movement that puts pressure on manufacturers to allow customers and independent repairers to repair their equipment.
In 2022, Apple launched a “self-service repair” program giving customers the option to replace their own batteries, screens and cameras on the latest iPhones.
The UK and EU have rules that force manufacturers to make spare parts for certain electronic devices available to customers and independent companies.
“Consumers have long complained that not only do products break down faster than they used to, but that repair is often too costly, difficult to arrange due to lack of spare parts, and sometimes impossible,” according to the European Parliamentary Research Service.
Some US states, such as New York and Massachusetts, have adopted similar measures. President Biden signed an executive order in 2021 calling on the Federal Trade Commission to develop a nationwide policy to allow customers to repair their own products, particularly in the tech and agriculture sectors.