‘Right to repair’ pact signed by AFBF, Deere

A long-festering frustration for farmers and ranchers who want to repair their own equipment appears to have cleared a hurdle as a major farm organization and equipment manufacturer have announced an agreement to allow the practice.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding, effective Jan. 8, that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ right to repair their own farm equipment, according to a news release from the AFBF.

The MOU, signed at the 2023 AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the culmination of several years of discussions between AFBF and John Deere.

“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 AFBF President Zippy Duvall in the news release. “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 MOU commits John Deere to ensuring farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber America’s families rely on.”

In the same release, David Gilmore, John Deere senior vice president, Ag and Turf sales and marketing, said, “This agreement reaffirms the longstanding commitment Deere has made to ensure our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines. We look forward to working alongside the American Farm Bureau and our customers in the months and years ahead to ensure farmers continue to have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.”

The MOU sets parameters and creates a mechanism to address farmers’ concerns. John Deere commits to engaging with farmers and dealers to resolve issues when they arise and agrees to meet with AFBF at least twice per year to evaluate progress.

The agreement formalizes farmers’ access to diagnostic and repair codes, as well as manuals (operator, parts, service) 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.

The MOU has the potential to serve as a model for other manufacturers and AFBF has already begun those discussions.

The agreement with Deere states the manufacturer will ensure that any farmer, including any staff or independent technician assisting a farmer at his request, and any independent repair facility that provides assistance to farmers, has electronic access on fair and reasonable terms to manufacturer’s tools, specialty tools, software and documentation, including John Deere Customer ADVISOR; operator, parts and service manuals; product service demonstrations, training, seminars or clinics; on-board diagnostics via diagnostics port or wireless interface; other publications with information on service, parts operation and safety.

Deere will ensure that farmers and independent repair facilities will be able to access and obtain, per subscription or sale, manufacturer’s tools, specialty tools, software and documentation on fair and reasonable terms. It also spells out the Customer Service ADVISOR will continue to provide access to operator’s and technical manuals, allow the lookup of diagnostic codes, provide machine diagnostic connectivity with Electronic Data Link and perform machine calibrations that require EDL.

Also, Deere will ensure a farmer has electronic access on fair and reasonable terms to manufacturer’s codes and data and with a farmer’s authorization, codes and data will be available to his selected independent repair facility.

Agricultural equipment includes but not limited to a tractor, combine, harvesting equipment, tillage, planting, irrigation or cultivating implement, baler, or other off-road vehicles primarily designed for use in an agricultural operation, but does not include motor vehicles designed and sold primarily for passenger or property transportation on public roadways.

The full memorandum is available at https://www.fb.org/files/AFBF_John_Deere_MOU.pdf.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].