Sunday, February 5, 2023

John Deere Surrenders Repair Monopoly

Owners of the ubiquitous green farm equipment can start writing their Dear John letters to John Deere.

Farmers and other users of Deere tractors and equipment will now have the right to repair their own equipment without having to use the company’s parts and facilities under an agreement reached with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

The agreement signed Jan. 8 caps a long battle between Deere & Company and farmers, consumer groups and “Right to Repair” advocates. Users of Deere equipment have filed numerous lawsuits against the company over the limitations the manufacturer has placed on its equipment and technology, which have included software locks and parts available exclusively from John Deere dealerships.

“AFBF is pleased to announce this agreement with John Deere. It addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information and resources, while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety,” said Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “A piece of equipment is a major investment. Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs.”

The agreement formalizes farmers’ access to diagnostic and repair codes, as well as manuals and product guides. It also ensures farmers will be able to purchase diagnostic tools directly from John Deere and receive assistance from the manufacturer when ordering parts and products.

John Deere has faced allegations that it restricts competition for farm equipment repair services by withholding necessary tools from farmers and independent repair shops and forcing customers to use “expensive and inconvenient” John Deere affiliate dealerships.

Right to Repair laws that would require manufacturers make documentation, parts and tools available to any independent repair provider or owner of digital electronic equipment sold by a manufacturer are gaining support across the country.

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