Administration Picks Up Right to Repair
Montana Farmers Union, an advocate at the state and federal level for the right to repair, praises President Biden for issuing an executive order on the farmers’ right to repair their equipment. MFU’s work on right to repair included a virtual town hall this spring on the issue. In addition, MFU worked with Representative Kate Sullivan and Senator Mark Sweeney to pass right to repair legislation. Despite the best efforts of MFU, Representative Sullivan, and Senator Sweeney, the right to repair legislation failed to pass; however, support for the issue has gained momentum. MFU continues its work on this critical issue and is encouraged by the Executive Order.
In the Order, the President:
Encourages the FTC to limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs—such as when tractor companies block farmers from repairing their own tractors.
“We appreciate the President’s Executive Order on right to repair. It brings the issue to the national stage for potential action by the FTC. Planting and Harvest is a timely process for all farmers and ranchers. It is critical machinery is in good working condition. Broken or disabled equipment determine the success of an entire crop season. Currently, there are only three major equipment manufacturers that sell into Montana. These companies have placed proprietary software on their equipment that prevents local heavy equipment mechanics from diagnosing and repairing tractors and combines. These companies only allow their technicians to make repairs. Farming and ranching are very stressful. Farmers have the highest suicide rate of any demographic. When you have a crop ready for harvest and your equipment is broke down, you have to wait for a dealer to fix it, and you are not allowed to fix it yourself. This is STRESSFUL! Having the right to repair our own equipment will not only save money and increase food security.“