The World’s First Agricultural Right To Repair Law

Long time readers will know that occasionally we mix up our usual subject matter with a dash of farm equipment. Usually the yellow and green variants that come from John Deere, as the agricultural manufacturer has become the poster child for all that is wrong in the fight for the right to repair. An old Deere is worth more than a nearly new one in many places, because for several years now their models have had all their parts locked down by DRM technologies such that only their own fitters can replace them. Now after a long legal fight involving many parties, the repair and parts company iFixit sound justifiably pleased as they announce the world’s first agricultural right to repair law being passed in the US state of Colorado. (Nitter)

This may sound like a small victory, and it will no doubt be followed by further rearguard actions from the industry as similar laws are tabled in other states. But in fact as we read it, with this law in place the game is de facto up for the tractor makers. Once they are required to release any access codes for the Coloradans those same codes will by extension be available to any other farmers, and though we’re guessing they won’t do this, they would be best advised to give up on the whole DRM idea and concentrate instead on making better tractors to fix their by-now-damaged brands.

It’s exciting news for everybody as it proves that right-to-repair legislation is possible, however since this applies only to agricultural machinery the battle is by no means over. Only when all machines and devices have the same protection can we truly be said to have achieved the right to repair.

We’ve reported on this story for a long time, here’s a previous piece of legislation tried in another state.

29 thoughts on “The World’s First Agricultural Right To Repair Law

  1. very misleading clickbait. There are several EU countries that already have laws on the books for quite some time with right to repair. it is one of the main reasons some US John Deere owners purchase computer modules for their tractors.

    First one in US sure, but not world

    1. Do those laws pertain specifically to agricultural machinery? That’s what the headline refers to: an “Agricultural Right to Repair Law”. I think you read it a little too quickly…

  2. Congrats to Louis Rossman (YouTube) for his hard work supporting things like this. He is an amazing resource for tenacity and education regarding right to repair law progress in the U.S.

  3. “Once they are required to release any access codes for the Coloradans those same codes will by extension be available to any other farmers…”

    These tractors have GPS on them,
    They will just geofence the codes to only work in Colorado.

    1. I foresee a very perverse incentive to host, or be a out os tate customer of, a tractor repair business in Colorado.

      Or buy your tractor in Colorado. It doesn’t matter how it’s implemented; seems like it’d just create business for Colorado.

      1. The spare part you bought in Colorado, will only work in CO. Leave the state, and the ECU faults every genuine home-fix or aftermarket part.

        But that’s the last resort. First they do nothing. Obviously only new 2024 models can use the codes. Then come Jan 2024 they will appeal to the supreme court, and can’t be doing anything until that is decided. Then your new tractor will have to break down and need a repair before you can apply for a code (in our repair code office, hours 2-3pm thursday, Ulan Bator standard time.). Then the code won’t work properly because firmware (well we didn’t know it didn’t work in the field until after the new 2024 tractors started to break down did we?).
        So about 2030 JD will have to decide if they want to actually comply, or just keep getting slapped with a wet bus ticket by the courts.

        1. “So about 2030 JD will have to decide if they want to actually comply, or just keep getting slapped with a wet bus ticket by the courts.”

          The next sound you hear is Fox being slapped with a “wet bus ticket”. Never underestimate the capacity for a government to be punitive. They have the time, and the money. Plus we are talking about the demographic that feeds the nation. Not one anyone wants to play games with.

        2. The next proof how stupid are americans. Why they chase John Deer when exist tractors from Belarusia (named Belarus) that are only 5 to 10 % less better than JD but are much cheaper, less Cost of ownership and repair-on-site friendly. As well driver seat is same luxory as JD. Those tractors have very lomg history and are very popular amongst countries that count their money (not like US that throw them on the wind). So, there are solution and if US farmers are not happy with JD, thay always have alternatives. Companies from the normal world (outside West) care about Cost of ownership and Right to repair.

      2. There is a real possibility that Deere will exit the market in Colorado. Two years ago, Colorado passed a law that said if you advertise a job opening, you have to include the pay range. Now, there are tons of jobs that say “open to anyone except if you’re from Colorado” because they refuse to show their pay ranges to prospective employees.
        We’re doing some good stuff here, and we can currently afford to do so. I hope some other states also step up and increase the pressure to make companies behave decently, because if most of the states with decent economies act in a coordinated fashion, companies won’t be able to compete economically without complying.

  4. Why even buy such a complicated Deere tractor when you could import identical Kirovets K-700 from EU. It has simple diesel engine with zero computers and electronics. Almost everything can be repaired in the field with basic toolbox or stick welder.

      1. It’s funny.
        In the cold war the USA did deals with soviet block countries quite a lot but quietly.
        When that ended, US companies bent over backwards to mine China for cheap labour and production, but only now y’all moan about China getting powerful, when actually it’s the USA responsible for arming them in a way not seen since they stupidly armed the Taliban when they were fighting the commies and that didnt turn out well.

        Are there any lessons learnt?
        Or is it all about buku dollars?
        So quite honest, who gives a monkey’s about Russian politik if there are cheap tractors.
        Just paint them red, white and blue, and they will sell.

    1. Well, one of the reasons might be precision farming. It is way easier on the operator, he can be less skilled in farming and it allows you to use resources more efficiently.

  5. just a note that the term ‘to table a law’ has very different meanings in different parts of the world. As I understnd it, in England, to ‘table a law’ means that it is being seriously considered.

    but in the US to ‘table an issue’ means that you are putting it aside and not doing any work on it (abandoning it, at least temporarily)

    1. Yes!
      IIRC, Winston Churchill said about the the relationship between the USA and Great Britain 🇬🇧 “Two nations separated by a common language”.

    2. US: Let’s table that for now, means let’s come back to it. Let’s put that on the table, means let’s strongly consider it. …so it means either depending on context. Is it not the same in the UL/EU?

      1. No. Tabling a motion made during a meeting (in the USA) is pretty much the same as putting it aside. It might be done to a motion that is too controversial, or one that needs more research/investigating, or one that the people running the meeting will hope will be forgotten/never mentioned again.

  6. It is the most pure bullshit that the general public will bitch about the $1000 cost of a new cellphone, that they only need to buy every year because they are intentionally made difficult to repair, yet the only way to get their interest in right-to-repair is to start with farm equipment and tell people it will make their food cheaper.

    “Yes but how will this effort make MY life more comfortable NOW?”

    Humans suck…

  7. Deere will not roll over and play dead without more pressure — which is ongoing and not just for tractors. We’ve filed various flavors of R2R legislation in 28 states so far this year — and with some luck (and member support) we’ll get more unlocked. Definitely the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end, depending on which Churchill quote you like best.

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