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What Is the “Right To Repair” and Why Are Farmers Fighting For It? 

Almost everyone who uses a phone has experienced the moment when after scheduling a time slot with the Geek Squad that it probably would have been easier to fix the product yourself or take it to an independent shop to do so. Apple isn’t the only monopoly that not only controls its entire product ecosystem, but also controls and profits off of its own product repairs.

Small farmers have been long fighting John Deere and Caterpillar for right to repair. Just like an iPhone, expensive farm equipment today comes with chips and technology that these companies have put in place farmers or independent contractors aren’t allowed to repair their purchased equipment. This week Colorado’s Right To Repair Bill will force these manufacturers to publish repair manuals and allow farmers to repair faulty equipment. 

This is a big win especially for independent farmers who are also squeezed by companies like Monsanto, disappearing acreage, and rising costs of fertilizer and gas. 

From Successful Farming: “In recent years, manufacturers have doubled down on protecting what they call “trade secrets” as agricultural equipment becomes more computerized, according to farmer advocates. Only dealer-certified technicians are allowed to repair this equipment, even if the fix is simply inputting a four-digit code to get two pieces of computerized machines to operate together, for example. 

Farmers can be kept waiting for days or weeks due to a limited number of dealer-certified technicians, and local repair providers lose out on their business because of this requirement. 

This can become a major issue for farmers; losing time for repairs during the growing season can mean the difference between staying in business or shuttering the barn doors, especially as small farmers fight to stay afloat in an industry dominated by a handful of corporations.”