Why Is the 'Right to Repair' Important for Farmers?

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The right to repair has been a contentious issue between consumers and manufacturers. The discussion often involves a focus on car repair, but the group most frequently affected is farmers.
But it looks like farmers will soon be able to have more control over how their vehicles are repaired. According to The Drive, President Joe Biden will sign an executive order to protect the right to repair among farmers.
Person driving a small tractor on a farm
Restricting third-party repairs can be extremely costly for farmers.

What is right to repair?

Right to repair means that once you own something, be it a phone or a truck, you can repair it with whatever parts you want. There may be official replacement parts for your phone, but the right to repair lets you use third-party parts. This helps keep prices down, as manufacturers are prevented from holding monopolies on repairs.
Some manufacturers don’t agree with this. A mechanic that they didn’t approve or a third-party replacement part could result in further damage to the product.
On the other hand, consumers believe that the right to repair helps make fixes more accessible. This is especially true for lower-income communities that may not be able to afford official manufacturer repairs. Another group this applies to is farmers, who are impacted by the executive order.

Repairing farm equipment is expensive

Farmers have been some of the most vocal proponents of the right to repair. Their equipment is expensive and necessary to complete their work. Unfortunately, the complicated equipment often needs repairs, and this is where farmers run into hurdles.
Manufacturers of farm equipment like John Deere have placed heavy restrictions on third-party repairs. This has made it difficult for farmers to repair their equipment as needed.
Some farmers have been able to continue their work using older equipment. Old tractors may last longer because they’re less complicated and farmers can maintain them as needed. Still, many farmers want more freedom to repair their own property so they aren’t forced to revert to old equipment.

How will Joe Biden’s executive order help farmers?

The executive order will give farmers more repair choices for their equipment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Trade Commission will be involved in enforcing this order. They will help make sure that farmers have more repair options beyond what manufacturers want.
There’s been strong reception to this initiative among right to repair advocates. As the executive order is put into effect, the hope is that competition will increase, and there will be more affordable ways to repair farm tools and vehicles.
Even those outside of agriculture are excited about the impact of this executive order. This could open the door for the right to repair to extend beyond farmers. Car mechanics or phone repair shops could be given more protection as the push for the right to repair grows.
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