John Deere And Nebraska’s Right To Repair, The Aftermath Of A Failed Piece Of Legislation

For the past few years now we’ve covered a long-running battle between American farmers and the manufacturers of their farm machinery, over their right to repair, with particular focus on the agricultural giant John Deere. The manufacturer of the familiar green and yellow machinery that lies in the heart and soul of American farming has attracted criticism for using restrictive DRM and closed-source embedded software to lock down the repair of its products into the hands of its dealer network.

This has been a hot-button issue in our community as it has with the farmers for years, but it’s failed to receive much traction in the wider world. It’s very encouraging then to see some mainstream coverage from Bloomberg Businessweek on the subject, in which they follow the latest in the saga of the Nebraska farmers’ quest for a right to repair bill. Particularly handy for readers wishing to digest it while doing something else, they’ve also recorded it as an easy-to-listen podcast.

We last visited the Nebraska farmers a couple of years ago when they were working towards the bill reaching their legislature. The Bloomberg piece brings the saga up to date, with the Nebraska Farm Bureau failing to advance it, and the consequent anger from the farmers themselves. It’s interesting in its laying bare the arguments of the manufacturer, also for its looking at the hidden aspect of the value of the data collected by these connected machines.

It’s likely that the wider hardware hacker community and the farming community have different outlooks on many fronts, but in our shared readiness to dive in and fix things and now in our concern over right to repair we have a common purpose. Watching these stories at a distance, from the agricultural heartland of the European country where this is being written, it’s striking how much the farmers featured are the quintessential salt-of-the-earth Americans representing what much of America still likes to believe that it is at heart. If a company such as John Deere has lost those guys, something really must have gone wrong in the world of green and yellow machinery.

Header image: Nheyob / CC BY-SA 4.0

101 thoughts on “John Deere And Nebraska’s Right To Repair, The Aftermath Of A Failed Piece Of Legislation

  1. “It’s likely that the wider hardware hacker community and the farming community have different outlooks on many fronts, but in our shared readiness to dive in and fix things and now in our concern over right to repair we have a common purpose.”

    Or right to chose whom repairs our equipment best embodied in the Apple debate.

    1. You aer so right about this.
      It´s rediculous that when you buy something then you doesn´t have right to service and repair your stuff yourself.
      When you buy something then you OWN that something and if you wanna repair or modify it then it´s pure up to you.
      I have modified all my music equipment in some different ways , if im not allowed to do that m yes of course I be pissed and angry.
      Same with the farmers equipment.
      Through all time most farmers have done service on their equipment by themself.
      Not only do they save money but also time.
      They don´t have to wait until some service have time for that and can easier get back to their work.
      This madness those big companies trying to force down our heads have to be stopped.
      Also many small repair shops getting more and more difficulting in doing their work.
      Those repair for a living and those big corporations take their living away.
      Yes Hacker groups and farmers ect have to stand together on this.
      Im surporting yea all .

    2. Self employed ag mechanic here.

      When are people going to learn that John Deere is not your friend and they could care less about the customer anymore. The only way to get them to listen is just quit making payments on this over engineered highest price plastic crap that’s being pushed on us.

      Over the years ive watched this icon of American industry go from the friendly helpful neighbor to a place that I’d rather take a beating than go-to. The treat me like #@*/ every time I have to go there.

      To my knowledge every other common vehicle manufacturer has made their systems available to the public

      The current JD administration would rather see the world starve that let you purchase a piece of wire and a computer program.

      It’s sad that its this kind of thinking that will eventually put them out of business

      1. Which ag equipment maker does the best about supporting and designing for long term repair and maintenance these days in your mind? It’s always interesting getting the opinion of someone who does the field work rather than just talking about it from the outside.

        1. Given the big push from farmers for right to repair, I would have thought that if one of the big manufacturers came out and said “we are going to make all the repair and diagnostic information and parts 100% available to everyone” (i.e. what you would get under right-to-repair laws) they could get a lot of farmers not only buying their products but also recommending those products to others and that would be good for said company.

          Even more so if they actually promoted it through their marketing and ads.

          1. However, it may not be a sustaining business model.

            A lot of business that used to make equipment that last “forever” are now out of business.

            These long standing industrial giants understands that.
            You can’t just sell “good” equipment, you need to find a way to make you customer continue to pay into it.
            That is how you make money and that is how you keep everyone employed.

      2. As a small dealer in Africa i would say its more about you dealer now being a big corporate giant instead of the old owner run type community shop you used to have back in the day. John Deere are still producing fine machinery!

    3. Do other implement manufacturers use the same practices? I’ve seen farmers using software like AgLeader? software to operate combines. Do these developers work with Deere?
      It’s appalling farmers who invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a piece of John Deere equipment are treated in this way. There are farmers who don’t have the tech savvy to repair their machines; but not having the option to repair is shameful. I hope future legislation is created offering protection to America’s farmers.

  2. “quintessential salt-of-the-earth Americans representing what much of America still likes to believe that it is at heart. ” these are the people P.T. Barnum was talking about when he said that a sucker is born every minute, also the same people Isaac Asimov was talking about in his famous quote. In the next version you will need to sign a blood oath and agree to sell your children into slavery to get software updates, and these “typical Americans” will go along with it.

      1. The farmers were the ones who voted for the legislators that allow this situation to happen. The madness could end immediately if the farmers could convince their elected officials to do something about it. Farmers and legislators keep bragging that they have each other’s interests at heart, if the legislators are lying then the farmers are indeed dumb.

        1. Holy hell Howard. You really think the Democrats aren’t in corporate pockets? You’ve bought into the Game of Thrones narrative of good and evil in politics. You should really be more discerning about your material and class interests. They don’t align with the Democratic party. They have been captured by the upper class, along with the Republicans and most other parts of the machinery of government. There is a difference in degree, but it’s not enough to warrant saying one side is the “bad guys” with skulls on their caps while the other is made up of “good guys” who wear capes and save kittens from trees. The primaries should handily illustrate how much corporate interests interfere with this hypothetically democratic process. It’s gotten to such a bad state in the US that it’s just outright legalized now. It’s a fall of Rome free-for-all. We are seeing the rot spread from the head and infest all sectors. There are no good guys left except the people.

        2. @Chris

          Ah yes, because only “inner city minorities” get said phone service (even though I know several people who have it who are not). Also, the service you’re referring to is a variation of the free landline service that was implemented by…. The Ronald Reagan administration. Pull your head out of your you know what.

        3. Thank you to all people that replied to HowardC.

          In *my* humble opinion, only proper solution to advance real democracies in the West and elsewhere, is proportional representation system. This fairly represents the electorate, and parties must work together to pass the bills.

          And also, ban bribes/donations, and limit terms to 4 or 8 years.

          In this way, representatives would answer to people, not corporations.

        4. @Miroslav

          I think law makers should be randomly selected into a 2 year training program where they can shadow law makers ,participate in committee meetings and maybe work as aids or as reporters to the voters.

          After the training period and if there is a vacancy they can move on to a confidence vote for their 1st term of 2 year. 2nd term and onward are 4 year terms. They will need 50% + yes votes from all eligible voters for the area they represent to be elected. They will face a confidence vote if they wish to be re-elected the each term. They can be impeach by voters at any time during their term.

          They will be pay during their training and of course after they are elected. They will have pension that correlates to the number of terms they serve. They will get a raise each year. Their basic salary will be adjusted with inflation each year and adjusted/subsidize by/for the area they serve/live in.

        5. Yeah but legislators lie to everybody, so it’s not just farmers.

          The problem’s particularly bad cos the USA only has 2 parties that will ever have any sort of power. They’re both almost identical in ways that matter. They’re both gonna serve the rich, because they ARE rich, and so are the many lobbyists who bankroll the enormous cost of getting elected in the modern USA.

          It’s why politicians spend so much time insulting the other guy for being incompetent or not capable of “running the economy” (and I always thought businesses did that). Or else even stupider stuff like “morals” and dirty shit like racism. The important question of “What are you actually going to DO with this power you want me to give you?” is one they run like hell from.

          Neither party tells the truth or can answer a simple question. They’re both from an extremely small social class. Without exception, AFAIK, they’re millionaires.

          You’re never going to get anything resembling democracy like that.

          Many other countries aren’t much better but the USA is particularly terrible. Some limits on campaign spending might help a bit, and might encourage a few independent or small parties to form and build up support. Two parties is the bare minimum for democracy and it doesn’t really work properly. Only being two, they both end up chasing the same voters, so they become very similar and offer little real choice. With more parties, they could afford to split the voters between them more, and in so doing, serve those voters’ needs more specifically.

    1. How long before the digital accessories baked into these multi-hundred thousand dollar behemoths age into obsolescence as is now happening at an increasing pace with SmartHome gadgetry? When does that render the underlying Diesel era tech immobile?

      1. Kind of depends on the company. I work for a company that competes in some markets with Deere. I spent a good chunk of time a few years back reworking a circuit board to take surface mount high side drivers because the equivalent through hole parts went obsolete. The controller the board went in was already more than 10 years old. It was tricky because the new drivers needed to self limit current to a specific amount that would not damage the wiring when shorted. Most drivers these days will pump out many times more current what the drivers from 10 years ago would do. I was somewhat limited on space too which meant creating current limiting external circuits would have been a challenge if I had needed to.

        I’d also seen a software guy in my group be tasked with rewriting software for a machine we only ever built one of, to keep a customer going when we couldn’t get parts for that machine any more. It might have actually been more cost effective in the end to nearly give him a new machine, but the point is the company will bend over backwards for some customers.

        The current strategy has been to write software in Matlab Simulink, with the hopes that it will be more portable to new hardware moving forward. Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

    1. I think you are trying to imply that it’s a non-issue as in people don’t realize it’s an issue not that there is no issue. The idea that in war time >50% of all farming equipment could be turned off if someone hacked a private companies network is insane to me. Farmers need the right to run their machines without a network connection and that’s a simple national security message that should resonate with every countries even most authoritarian leaders (except the idiot ones who think they should just control it instead).

      1. I agree with you, the farmer probably does not have the skill set or the interest in dealing with the electronics side of new tractors. I have re-wired points and coil ignitions on old tractors for local farmers because that was over their heads. But, I am comfortable with engines and electronics, and JD is also shutting me out as a middle man. BTW, like the general population, the interests and capabilities of farmers is all over the map. Some may well be comfortable and able to probe more deeply if they were allowed to. To me this falls under something that needs to be addressed, but there should be a basic right to repair ones own possessions. With the new JD business model it is more like you are paying for ownership but only renting.

        I can see parts of this being bigger issues moving forward though, as cars get more autonomous, who will repair them? Will Tesla allow you to change your own tires and brake pads? What about parts in the control systems?

    2. It’s a non-issue for the individual right up until the combine breaks down in the middle of your harvest and the $20k service truck visit can be scheduled for a week out at the earliest (sorry, this is the busy season).

      Accepting this sort of thing is like foregoing maintenance. Plenty of people do it to save a few cents, but plenty of them lose a lot of bucks when their machinery leaves the happy path. Then it’s not funny anymore and the farmer either turns to the ag subsidies, the bank, or the shotgun to pick up the pieces.

    3. Farmers are some of the most ingenious people.
      Especially when a company says they can only repair your equipment in about 7 days and they’ll have to pay out of the nose, yet they need that piece of gear working ASAP without fuzz and without being fleeced.

      1. Farmers are indeed ingenious, they get the government to pay them to produce milk that nobody wants, which the government has to spend even more money figuring out how to get rid of it. Dairy and beef farmers are also really good at allowing their piles of cow shit to contaminate our food supply.

    4. Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, a farmer and his friends, farmers. He was still repairing his tractors just about up till his death. He just quit buying the newer ones.

      It’s been less than a decade. Things may have changed in that time due to the manufacturers locking down their stuff but the people and what they would do if they had the chance could not have changed that much that fast.

      I wonder how many farmers YOU know!

    5. I actually I grew up working at a John Deere, dealership so in a way, yes. I didn’t say i am against the right to repair, just that the average farmer does not have any interest in the electronics side of it. Should they be interested? Sure.

    6. Hey CW! Nebraska’s Farm Bureau made up of 60,000 Farmers & Ranchers voted 176-1 ‘In Favor’ of R2R Legislation. If this group doesn’t represent the ‘Majority of Farming Areas’ in Nebraska I’d kiss your “xxx”!

    1. I’ve been following Louis for years now. He has expressed an interest in learning more about the agricultural side of Right to Repair, and has been actively lobbying in favor of RtR bills in multiple states, having recently spent his own money o fly out to Washington, Nebraska, Maine, and Massachusetts to speak on behalf of the bills being presented. Jessa Jones from iPad Rehab is also a top notch advocate for RtR. Give her a look too.
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPjp41qeXe1o_lp1US9TpWA

  3. The Military has the same issues.
    They are hampered by not being able to repair in the field.
    How does that make sense? Call the dealer for a repair ticket in Afghanistan?

    1. There are men and women who’s MOS means they know what each part of the machine is, who to talk to to get the spare part, and how to take the busted part out and put a new one in.

      It may not always be a fast, easy repair, but it can get done without contacting the manufacturer.

  4. I think the hacker community has an obligation to and a duty to assist any and all persons who wish to hack / decode /alter in anyway electronics they have legally purchased and will operate in a legal manor. Including but not limited to disabling data gathering and reporting unless the owner is compensated for his generated data. It’s time we get paid to help manufactures increase their profit. It’s time to stop the insanity of allowing manufactured to disable or degrade products that we have legally purchased and own so they can sell us a newer product when the old product is still working.

    1. Data gathering and reporting is actually very useful on farms. Last I heard, monitoring of warning lights and maintenance sensors were commonly cited as a requested feature in connected ag equipment. Apparently in the real world, precariously-employed workers don’t always tell people when they notice new warnings or problems in case they get blamed.

      1. Why do they need big brother to monitor things for them? Why can’t farmers set up their own data gathering and monitoring? If you want to own your gear then you have to own your gear.

        1. I worked at the JD electronics reman facility, and the systems are so locked down the farmer can’t even pull diagnostic codes. Seriously. Getting required IP for our engineers to even talk to the systems (Windows CE and Linux) was almost impossible. A couple of them actually cracked the crypto, but still waited for the official data so they wouldn’t get fired.

          1. As a former Deere software engineer that is straight up lies. We had pop up and window shade warnings that tell you EXACTLY what DTC you threw. There was also the diagnostic pages that again listed the DTCs. There is a lot of lying going on in this thread but your BS takes the cake. And the whole “breaking the crypto” is just not sense.

  5. I do not disagree with these arguments that are in favor of end-user control of equipment that they purchased. But I can offer you some contrary reasoning on the side of the manufacturer.

    A previous employer made stuff intended for use in medical equipment. This stuff was under a contract that disallowed anyone attempting to repair or modify our stuff other than ourselves. This former employer offered a generous warranty period, and forever support to the end-use equipment manufacturer.

    After a while, we started getting RMAs that had been modified, disassembled, or whatever. Then the end-use manufactures started dragging us into torts, none of which involved a failure of our stuff that could have caused any serious failure in the end-use equipment. As our supplier’s contract had been violated, we withdrew all support, closed down that branch of the company, and sent the end-use equipment manufacturers to Asia to find high-risk stuff (that cost the same). We were one of three remaining North American manufactures of this stuff.

    Now, several years and 100s of millions of USD (perhaps billions) later, the western world has less reliable medical equipment that costs more.

    Be careful what you ask for – do whatever you want with your “open” system, but have the guts and integrity to admit, when the fault is yours, that you broke your box and take responsibility for the results.

    1. > Be careful what you ask for – do whatever you want with your “open” system, but have the guts and integrity to admit, when the fault is yours, that you broke your box and take responsibility for the results

      That’s how car warranties have worked for decades and somehow the car industry hasn’t fallen apart. Guts not required as the car companies just say “you messed with that engine, warranty void. Tough crap”

      1. Car dealerships and authorised repair centres have been using a workaround to this for years by claiming to repair non existing faults that are covered by warranty. They fix the non warranty/wear & tear faults for free to the customer and then bill the car manufacturer for imaginary warranty work. Customer signs off on work to avoid them paying anything. Dealership and customer win, car manufacturer shoots itself in the foot.

      2. Actual car warranties apply if you do your own work, at least manufacturer warranty does. If I perform work on my own vehicle that is covered by manufacturer, then I can bill it as warranty work through the warranty claims department. However if my work fails for anything other than expected fail modes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came after me to pay another mechanic to do the work.

    2. I submit that medical equipment is in a whole different class than farming equipment.

      And the reasons for restricting repair of medical equipment are very much different than those for farming equipment.

    3. Bad comparison. Medical equipment with it’s liabilities is it’s own beast.

      Further, people repair their own vehicles all the time. If you work on your stuff while it’s still in warranty you only waste your own time and money. If you mess it up you void the warranty and you need to pay for the repair of the original problem AND the repair for whatever you broke.

      There is nothing special here about farm vs road equipment!

      Yes, sometimes the inept are also the nasty and try to insist you freely repair their err. That’s just like any industry. Just keep saying no.

    4. That is a really weak argument when you’re talking about a supply chain that has worked fine the old way going on hundreds of years.

      If John Deere was taking care of these things under warranty, or using their misappropriation of the DMCA to protect themselves without gouging their customers we wouldn’t be hearing about this in the news at all. This is a story because they’re using their keys wring more cash out of their customers than would otherwise be justifiable. There is no defence for them. You’re advocating for the devil.

    5. Medical field, aviation and few other are different they need much tighter regulations and control. You can solve it the way aviation is parts are certified, mechanics, engineers are certified too, there are repair instructions that has to be followed, no non certified parts can be used and no unauthorized personel. But seriously AG equipment isn’t medical, smartphones ain’t passanger jets, Teslas are just cars.

  6. The base of the problem is where they should be attacking. DMCA…I’m looking at you. This widely reaching, poorly written piece of the law has been abused by so many industries it’s sickening. And yes, I used the proper term, ABUSED. How do the big corporations keep getting away with it? Follow the money. Big tech and Big Companies with the cash tend to get their way in the legislature…and the courts. Golden Rule indeed.

    1. Lawmakers do not write laws, they take pre-written themes, and put them in the chute for approval.
      Lobbyists create the body of the new law-to-be and donate funds to the re-election committee.
      Show me a law that is not poorly written and or abused.

      1. And it works. They keep getting re-elected.

        Maybe it’s time to stop attacking the DMCA to the politicians. They are just industry pets anyway.

        Convince the people. Build a lot of cool shit. Then explain to everyone who will listen that there could be more cool shit. Technology is awesome but it’s improvement is hindered by bad laws including the DMCA. Make it matter to them. Explain that their TVs would display football better (or futból where apropriate) and their refrigerators would keep their beer colder (or warmer for you europeans?) if only these bad laws weren’t holding us back.

        And stop buying from the companies that lobby for this crap.

        1. You might be interested in the Open Ecology Project. All open equipment, from tractors (with some killer design features) to manufacturing equipment. I used to work for JD, and I can’t wait to see them get abused back (especially in the stock market)!

  7. So as a farmer who doesn’t care what color or age of the equipment it will break down..at an operating cost of thousands of dollars a day for a larger farm any down time is costly add the insult of everyone around seeing you sitting in the field with a broken machine while they are still going is almost heart breaking…it should not matter who is as farmers/mechanics have working on our equipment we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for these big tractors and planters and harvesters we should be able to fix it ourselves or get whoever can fix it the fastest and cheapest at our own decision not by what large companies say we can do…we rightfully own this equipment. It would be the same as building a house and the person who built it saying only he can work on the plumbing in the years to come when there’s issues. If they are busy to bad for you it will have to wait.

  8. Manufacturers arguments against are the straw man redneck who if they “allow” repair will smash it open with a rock, wedge a nail in the fuseholder and duct tape it back together again… Hum, newsflash, there are those types around, but they don’t care whether you “allow” repair or not.

    So what kind of “professional” service can only manufacturers or their appointed agents supply… name and shame time Acer computers, returned one of those 3 times for service because of random reboots, claimed it was a software problem, even after I pointed out leaking capacitors, they stalled until warranty out, re-capped the motherboard myself, no more problem. Official car dealerships in general, numerous recurring problems over decades that only finally got fixed when I did it, sometimes all it took was using the right torque specs, you know, the ones they’re meant to know because they follow factory service procedures, NOT.

    1. You’re right. They’ll flaunt a lengthy warranty but when we try to claim it, the corporation will do ANYTHING to shirk their way out of it.

      I had a bad experience with MSI. Bought an MSI gaming desktop (pre-built). They equipped it with a 350W PSU. Sales guy said it was enough… ok.. whatever. Laster 5 days. When I called, they said they can’t return it in store and in order to exercise my 3 YEAR warranty I need to ship it somewhere in the USA. I live in Canada and the case weights in at 40lbs. Even if I did ship it, the guy told me they would just replace the PSU with another 350W one since their genius engineers decided that was good enough. So… i just bought a new power supply. Some good my warranty did me. But.. some good it will do them when I buy equipment again.. MSI is on my 5h1t list now.

      Cheers

      1. The dealer didn’t lie–Tesla screwed up. When the dealer purchased the car at it auction, it came with paperwork *from Tesla* which said it had full autopilot. In the meanwhile after dealer had sold car but before the customer picked it up, Tesla discovered the original owner (before it was sold to the dealer) hadn’t paid for the feature and disabled it. Note that this was a car put up for auction with the full knowledge and approval of Tesla, not some shady behind-the-shed deal.

        Tesla claimed the car shouldn’t have had full autopilot in the first place, but Tesla sold the car at auction with the full autopilot active and working, *and* listed it as such on the paperwork.

  9. Not most farmers are hackers, but I hope they can get together,and reveres engineer , those computer driven machines.
    Problem is all that stuff is potted or coated, but if “they” can can fix it, you can. I’m getting hungry

    1. This is what happens when farmers choose representatives that don’t act in their interest. Hey Mr. Farmer. about your congressman, you know, the one you voted for, does he care more about John Deere or about you? Who gave him more money, John Deere or you? There is your answer. So you don’t like this situation, where John Deere can give them so much money? Remember, you also voted for the people who made it this way.

      1. We get it. The farmers don’t vote the way you want them to. Seriously? Maybe they have a bit bigger picture of their lives than you do of theirs. This just proves my point that two many people on the coasts (or political spectrum) seem to think they know better, and then they get upset when people won’t follow them like lemmings.

  10. Make the tractor really, really dead. Tow it ceremoniously back to dealership with a giant sign saying something like, “should have bought a New Holland” and leave it in a parking spot of someone important. Encourage everyone you know to join your boycott. Draw political cartoons and distribute them like lost doggy fliers. Leave a burning lunch bag of poop at their door and ding dong ditch them.
    After things like VW emissions testing, I’m surprised bad publicity doesn’t impact John Deere more severely. Is it just not bad enough??

    1. New Holland is a member of the industry group that lobbies for DRM protection! You want to encourage them? Why?

      If you want to fix this problem you need to change the law. If you want to change the law then you have to convince lawmakers to change it.

      in case you are not paying attention, lawmakers don’t pay attention to boycotts or cartoons or doggy fliers. The law says that they only have to pay attention to $$$.

      1. Well, who doesn’t lobby for it?
        Anyway, I see so many sh!tboxes rolling around with only half its factory parts left, I’m sort of surprised farmers don’t give their equipment the same treatment!
        Is Massey Ferguson in on this, too? Kubota? Cat? I mean, isn’t this just a market begging for a product? Boycotting fails mostly when there is a monopoly and options just don’t exist, so if there is demand for user serviceable equipment, why isn’t another company taking it up?
        I would take a stab at guessing the most affected farms are the duck off big, corporate sized ones, which are much too large to chance their whole operation on an iffy repair. The farms I have worked are more the size where major equipment gets shared among farms and little Kubota tractors handle the bulk of the work, anyway. Something about all of this just has a corporate feel that makes me think there’s a good reason those farmers ended up in that situation. (Can the tractor drive itself so my profits don’t have to provide anyone else income?) Like I said, I only know small scale farming, so by all means, fill me in on what I’m missing!

  11. This thread is amusing as apparently only farmers, or people that know farmers can weigh in. Apparently the same goes for politics or football, where millions were never politicians or football players but weigh in daily. Disconnecting from the machine or computer or shovel, or whatever you use for your work is never a good idea. You then outsource that knowledge to someone else and you struggle to re learn or teach someone else.

  12. For those that assert product liability for medical equipment is not similar to agriculture stuff, I offer yet another view. Brian, version 4.0, interestingly, has been employed by the agricultural equipment industry for about two years. I have noticed no significant differences in the legal processes for a tort, or for the presentation of data, or for the requirements for ‘expert’ witnesses for medical equipment vs. agricultural equipment manufacturers. The one principal difference that I have noticed is the “bed-side” manner of the trial lawyers – less emotive for ag stuff.

  13. It wasn’t that long ago that Ford & GM considered the ECU etc and the data contained, THEIR IP. Also, running on fading memory, didn’t a similar right to repair law get gutted in California a few years back? I think it was alleged that the lobby/bureau/whatever may have taken a different intere$t than the farmers for some reason. Agribusiness can run very lean at times but getting hit for a 10k$ repair for a $200 part at the wrong time can break the bank.

  14. do not worry some like m and w or some aftermarket co. will make a bypass kit for your john deere it is just a matter of time i have been working on tractors 30 years and have worked on most of every kind of tractor and if jd does not watch out they will not be here for the long hull

  15. Farm equipment that fails during planting needs repair real soon. Farm equipment that fails during harvest needs repair NOW, not whenever a dealer can get someone out to your field to swap a part and login to the tractor’s computer to have the computer add the replacement part’s serial number to its whitelist.

    Farm equipment need to be repairable as easy as it always was. Figure out what’s broke, call the nearest dealer or equipment parts shop (like Autozone or NAPA but for tractors) then if they have it in stock you hop in the pickup, go get it, bring it back to the field and fix the damn tractor so the corn or wheat or potato harvest can continue – because it is for darn certain going to rain overnight so you have to work through the dark to get the crop in.

    Apparently the people at John Deer and these other companies don’t know a damn thing about farming.

  16. I live in a farming community. Around here, no one buys John Deere. No one buys anything new. It is crazy. Used tractors without computerized brains sell for ridiculous prices. The tractor dealerships sit on everything in their inventory. There are two farmers that I know that have huge farms and they lease tractors for two years and then get rid of them so that they never have any breakdowns, thus avoiding any repairs. Everybody else just learns to take very good care of their equipment.

  17. There are a lot of words in these comments, but I have yet to see anyone mention anything about the sensors in use, the communication protocol being used, or a hint of a work around. Apparently the Chinese are so astute to the technological situation that they can bury chips that will escape the NSA’s attention, but we haven’t moved passed Ukranian hackers doing something good for our tractors. Maybe John Deere has it right. The best way for us to survive is to throw in the towl, let the corporarions take over, and start moving those Chinese hackers this way. Clearly, we have been presented with more of a challenge than we are capable of handling.

  18. You know, the simplest solution to this problem is to just stop buying John Deere. Good grief. They are not the only name in the game and if the farmers were to just go buy some other brand, and let it be known that this is the reason, maybe JD would get the message and change their policy. If not, oh well… their bottom line would just take a well deserved hit.

    Unfortunately, people can’t seem to get together and boycott anything worthwhile.

    1. this has happened look at prices of used farming equipment from pre-electronics era, its insane i’m from ex-commie country and old commie times tractors are rising in value – real shitty quality crap. While dealerships are full of new stuff waiting for client and while clients have money – there was wave few years back everyone changed for NewHolland, Lambo, JD and other brands now whoever you talk to they are either looking for their fathers/grandfathers stuff or thinking about importing tractors from Belarus. Insane.

    2. The problem here is they are passing legislation that protects manufactures.

      It doesn’t matter if you don’t by john deere.
      Everyone else is allow to protect the programmable electronics.
      They are rigging the law in their favor and they will take advantage of it as long as it is still in place.

  19. I’ve got a solution to this whole thing. Just stop buying John Deere equipment. They are not the only name in the game. Buy some other brand, send then a copy of the receipt with a letter telling them WHY you bought something else. Simple. Either they change their policy or the lose money. Either way, the farmers win.

  20. Most farms in the USA are now mega-corporations using fully automated tractors that have a “driver” inside watching movies to satisfy the law that someone has to be inside one.
    The tractors pictured are the small consumer level stuff for the hobby farmers and homeowners.
    Thanks to the EPA they now have a LOT of electronics on them along with monstrosities such as DPFs….

  21. lerlts face it the legislation failed mainly because the farmers and people continuously send the same people back to office that sell everyone out to the corporations.. you want to change things change the people your voting for. or quit griping about them.

  22. do like IHC did with the 4586 tractor you got a tool kit and a shop manual and it was part of the price of the tractor and CASE the backhoe like a 580c u got a shop manual and it was pat of the price of the tractor and if a aftermarket went to by one the are over 300 dollars so john deere can do the same thing sell them the shop manual and software and then everyone will be happy

  23. I wonder how hard an open-source tractor control system would be to write? It could also control cars of course, to give it a bit more takeup among people who program but don’t drive tractors. Yeah sure you need the parameters of the particular engine but those can be measured right? A mechanic can tell you the cylinder’s volume and displacement. You can measure the spark timing in a number of ways. A scope loosely connected to the spark plug wires maybe. By “loosely” I mean “not connected at all, and just vaguely picking up by induction through a single wire placed nearby”.

    You could measure the outputs of the engine controller under various conditions on a dynamometer. Programmers are smart people, and intellectual cousins with car mechanics, whose job is a lot like programming, or medicine, in the sense you reach a diagnosis through induction and deduction, and knowing the system well.

    The information, if it led to open-source engine computers, would be a boon to independent mechanics. They could offer it, together with whatever tuning options to boy-racers at a healthy profit. They could replace computers in ordinary cars just if the old computer is being weird.

    Yeah manufacturers would try fight back. But the computer is by far the most sophisticated component in an engine. The rest is pretty simple. So what could they do?

    Early car computers were 8-bit low-powered chips so you can’t need too much power and sophistication. Just use the automotive grade MCU chip.

    Perhaps some engines rely on more than one computer. That’s fine, we can do that too!

    1. I wrote embedded software for Deere for ten years and we had teams of over one hundred for each platform. As well as several R&D tech facilities that were share across the Enterprise that house employed several hundred engineers at each location. Between the three platforms I worked on we had a few dozen guys with master’s or PhDs from MIT, CalTech, Carnegie Mellon etc. To get the same level of sophistication from open source controls systems would take a decade or more from some of the best embedded systems engineers in the country. We’ve had self driving tractors and combines with orders of magnitude more complexity than a Tesla for over 10 years. Sure you can get some similar functionality from open sourcing it but it won’t be easy to get a 1 for 1 match.

  24. There is a reason older equipment is going for big $$$$ at actions you can fix it. I may not get the yield out of the older equipment but the savings on that 20k repair bill for the newer computer control garbage more then offsets the yield loss

  25. Having grown up farming in NE, I’ve had a bit of familiarity with this issue. One factor we always looked at was how quickly can we get the equipment back on line. We had equipment choices then that aren’t available now. Some equipment were share owned by groups of farmers, ie a baler or combine. To deny anyone the right to repair their own implements that affect their livelihood, is bordering on immoral. That is a broader scope that includes all walks of life. First they grabbed all the money, now they are taking control. Skeptic in AK.

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