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Montana Ag Network: Right to Repair complaint filed with FTC

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Mar 09, 2022

Right to Repair advocates have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against John Deere over the right to repair its equipment.

The Montana Farmers Union (MFU) has joined the complaint that Deere and Company makes its equipment difficult or impossible to repair unless taken to a dealer.

“We're making headway,” said MFU President Walter Schweitzer. “President Biden signed executive orders last year. In those executive orders, he instructed the FTC to make rules enforcing the right to repair our own equipment. That's what they're working on right now. And Farmers Union is working hand in hand with the FTC, the USDA, and Congress to make sure that all farmers have the right to repair their own equipment.”

The complaint also alleges Deere has violated the Sherman Act by making pronouncements about providing diagnostic equipment to farmers and then not delivering which dealers like C&B Operations disagree with.

“They're trying to make everybody believe that this truly is something that the manufacturers are holding from our customers,” said Tim Schulz with C&B Operations in Billings, Mont. “The truth of the matter is John Deere's seat in the stadium is we have the technology that we can sell to producers or shade tree mechanics so they can plug into this equipment and find out all the details that they need to fix the problems they have. Now there is a line in the sand between fixing and modifying.”

As agriculture organizations like Farmers Union support Right to Repair, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says overly broad legislation isn’t only unnecessary, it would risk the safety, durability, and environmental sustainability of equipment.

Meanwhile, in February, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced his Agriculture Right to Repair Act, which he says will finally guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market.