President Joe Biden soon will sign an executive order that restricts manufacturers from limiting farmers’ ability to repair their own property, Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced this week.
This comes days after a congressman from New York introduced a bill dubbed the Fair Repair Act that takes what has historically been a state legislative issue and elevates it to a coast-to-coast question.
In the announcement Tuesday, Psaki noted that the USDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be ordered to make rules to foster greater competition in the agriculture industry.
In turn, this could boost farmers’ and ranchers’ earnings while fighting abuses of power from giant agriculture conglomerates, she said. Details were few in the announcement, but the press secretary said the rulemaking will “give farmers the right to repair their own equipment how they like.”
The legislation introduced last month would require manufacturers to provide device owners and independent repair stores access to the tools, parts, and information they need to fix electronics.
Nathan Proctor, who leads the right-to-repair campaign for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, characterized Biden’s move as “great news for farmers” and “great news for everyone concerned with repair monopolies.”
Dealer groups, however, see it differently.
The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) and nine regional dealer associations brought the issue to the attention of their members after the right-to-repair bill was introduced in Congress.
EDA’s letter, said, in part: “For the past few years, EDA and other industry stakeholders have been hard at work fighting Right to Repair legislation. These very broad bills have been introduced in 30-plus U.S. states and lump ag and construction equipment in with consumer electronics in an effort to give end-users the right to modify equipment. Unlike cell phones, modifying heavy equipment creates safety and environment violations that pose an inherent risk to those who operate, repair and sell it. Thus far, EDA and its coalition partners have been successful in defeating this state legislation (not a single state has passed a Right to Repair bill), but now the stakes are higher.”
Sources: The Drive,
Motherboard (Tech by Vice), and Farm Equipment