Published date:June 01, 2023
Last updated date:June 07, 2023
By Manny Manriquez
In early April, Colorado became the first state to pass a Consumer Right to Repair Act for farmers. Under the new legislation, as of January 1, 2024 all manufacturers of agricultural equipment must supply Colorado consumers with the resources needed for maintenance and repair. And in addition to being a big win for Colorado farmers, the state’s Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act could also be a sign of better things to come for farmers across the U.S. Here’s why.
From farm equipment to cell phones to automobiles, manufacturers tend to make it difficult and expensive (if not downright impossible) for consumers to repair items on their own.
In 2010, the farming community started fighting back. The Right to Repair movement began with farmers and repair shops petitioning for the ability to repair agricultural equipment on their own. Their efforts have resulted in various state statutes protecting consumers from needing to rely on manufacturers for the diagnostics, repair, and maintenance of certain devices and pieces of equipment. Until recently, however, farmers themselves were still fighting for their own consumer rights.
Colorado’s Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act is one of the biggest wins to date for the Right to Repair movement. It also lends additional support to the larger push for the right to repair consumer devices, echoing other countries where this type of legislation is already the norm.
The recently-passed Colorado bill includes a number of key protections for owners of farm equipment. In particular, the bill requires that manufacturers of agricultural equipment supply buyers and independent repair shops with the “parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation” needed to maintain their machines. This includes detailed repair manuals that provide all necessary information for repairs and other maintenance services.
Ultimately, the Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act helps eliminate predatory practices that prevent farmers from navigating repairs on their own. And in doing so, it’s expected to significantly cut down on repair costs for farming equipment in Colorado and empower farmers to use and maintain their equipment for longer.
Colorado isn’t the only state making headway in the Right to Repair movement. This year has already seen major headway made in consumer repair rights, with various state legislators rolling out proposals that support these rights in regards to consumer electronics, vehicles, and more. This is in addition to federal Right to Repair proposals that are also gaining steam.
While many manufacturers have expressed worry over the growing movement, some are working to get involved from the ground up. For example, this past January, John Deere signed a memorandum stating they would “enhance the ability of Farmers to timely control the lawful operation and upkeep of Agricultural Equipment.”
Farmers still have a long way to go before consumer repair rights are an accepted part of the agricultural economy. But the Right to Repair movement shows no signs of slowing down, and if Colorado’s legislation is a sign of things to come, then major progress could be just around the corner.
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