Farmers Win Right-to-Repair Deere Equipment

Farmers will now have the right to repair tractors and other agricultural equipment from Deere without having to use the manufacturer’s own parts and facilities, under an agreement the company signed Sunday with farm industry representatives.

The agreement marks a major victory for farmer and consumer advocacy groups, who have complained for years about the repair limitations Deere has imposed on its products and technology, from software locks to requirements to use official dealers for repairs. The restrictions have inspired multiple lawsuits against the company and created a high-profile public relations headache in which farmers have accused Deere of interfering with their ability to plant and harvest crops on a timely basis.

The memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) gives farmers access to the same Deere documentation, data and diagnostic tools used by the company’s authorized repair shops. Farmers will be able to diagnose and fix broken down equipment on their own or by choosing an independent repair facility, which will also have access to the proprietary tools and data on the same fair and reasonable terms, according to the MOU.

In exchange, AFBF officials agreed not to push for state or federal legislation promoting users’ right to repair products they’ve leased or purchased. Under the MOU, farmers and third-party repair shops may not disable on-board safety features or use their access to Deere’s technology to illegally copy the software controlling their equipment.

The voluntary deal safeguards Deere’s intellectual property while giving farmers more control of their own business, said Zippy Duvall, president of AFBF.

“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,” Duvall said in a statement. “Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs.”