GREAT FALLS — A long-running issue between farmers and farm equipment manufacturers has reached an agreement.
At the 2023 American Farm Bureau Federation convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the AFBF and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding to ensure farmers’ and ranchers’ have the right to repair equipment.
This comes after dispute over producers protecting major investments in large machinery.
The AFBF released the following statement:
The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding today that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ right to repair their own farm equipment. The MOU, signed at the 2023 AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the culmination of several years of discussions between AFBF and John Deere.
“AFBF is pleased to announce this agreement with John Deere. It addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information and resources, while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “A piece of equipment is a major investment. Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs. The MOU commits John Deere to ensuring farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber America’s families rely on.”
David Gilmore, John Deere Senior Vice President, Ag & Turf Sales & Marketing said, “This agreement reaffirms the longstanding commitment Deere has made to ensure our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines. We look forward to working alongside the American Farm Bureau and our customers in the months and years ahead to ensure farmers continue to have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.”
The MOU sets parameters and creates a mechanism to address farmers’ concerns. John Deere commits to engaging with farmers and dealers to resolve issues when they arise and agrees to meet with AFBF at least twice per year to evaluate progress.
The agreement formalizes farmers’ access to diagnostic and repair codes, as well as manuals (operator, parts, service) and product guides. It also ensures farmers will be able to purchase diagnostic tools directly from John Deere and receive assistance from the manufacturer when ordering parts and products.
The MOU has the potential to serve as a model for other manufacturers and AFBF has already begun those discussions.
A concern that has been a long time coming, the MOU sets boundaries to meet the producers’ concerns. With that, John Deere and AFBF will meet twice a year to ensure its agreement is met and following terms.
John Deere’s intellectual property is protected under the agreement, offering farmers better access to ordering parts and products to handle the upkeep of machines.
It is a model for other manufacturers to follow the lead of John Deere and the AFBF to write right to repair agreements in the future.
We plan to follow up with Senator Jon Tester later in the week to hear his thoughts on the MOU. Senator Tester is at the forefront of fighting for the passing of the Right to Repair Act and what this means for producers in the state of Montana and the rest of the nation.
Article by Ryan Gamboa, MTN News (firstname.lastname@example.org)