National Farmers Union welcomed legislation introduced this week in the House of Representatives that would ensure farmers can access what they need to repair equipment. Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez introduced the Agricultural Right to Repair Act introduced the bill Wednesday. The Washington state Democrat introduced the bill to establish a comprehensive framework for the right to repair of agricultural equipment.
Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Roden participated in the NFU fly-in last week, talking with lawmakers on various issues, including right to repair.
“There’s quite a bit of work going on within the Federal Trade Commission right now dealing with that issue, and hopefully we can get something done on the national level, too, so that we don’t have to do the state by state patchwork that’s happening. And, they are quite interested in what happened in Colorado with the passage of the bill there to allow farmers to repair the equipment and how the big agricultural dealers are handling that.”
Von Ruden says Congressional action is needed to fix the issue, according to the Federal Trade Commission, as agriculture is just one of many sectors involved.
“They think that it’s something that needs to actually happen at the congressional level to get the federal laws in place to make sure that it covers all industries, too. With our discussions with the FTC folks, there’s actually some issues in our hospitals, too, of not being able to get the right equipment or be able to repair the equipment that’s needed for different types of surgeries, so this is something that, it’s bigger than just agriculture, but certainly agriculture is brought it to the spotlight.”
The Agricultural Right to Repair Act defines what type of information Original Equipment Manufacturers are required to provide to make repair accessible. If the OEM does not have the digital or physical tools available, they are required to provide sufficient information to create the tools.
The bill also gives the Federal Trade Commission the ability to enforce these requirements and the ability to make a rule to assist in the implementation of these requirements.
A national agricultural Right to Repair law could save U.S. farmers $4.2 billion per year when accounting for direct costs and equipment downtime, according to National Farmers Union.