Farmers Face Uphill Battle in Right to Repair Tractors | Civil Eats

Farmers Face Uphill Battle in Right to Repair Tractors

Manufacturers have out-lobbied and outspent equipment owners 28-1.

January 10, 2023 update: John Deere this week announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation to allow independent mechanics access to tools and software documentation to repair their equipment. In exchange, the Farm Bureau agreed to not advocate for any state or federal right-to-repair legislation—a caveat that has advocacy groups like PIRG calling for continued efforts to pass right-to-repair laws.

This article was produced by MapLight in partnership with Civil Eats.

When Tom Schwarz was growing up on his family’s 2,500-acre Nebraska produce farm and their International tractor broke down, fixing it was pretty simple.

“You bought a new part,” said Schwarz, 58. “Or, you bought a used part. You replaced what was broken, and you moved on.”

Today, repairs are much more complicated. Recently, a component in the guidance system on Schwarz’s John Deere 7230 tractor, which he uses to plant his crops, broke. Since the Moline, Illinois-based company no longer supports his tractor’s system, Schwarz is looking at a $3,000 bill for a used electrical part. He would like to just get his current component repaired, but manufacturers won’t provide independent shops with the guides or technology that would allow them to fix it, and Deere—one of the few tractor manufacturers with an authorized repair shop in south-central Nebraska—won’t repair older parts if it no longer supports them.

Schwarz is far from alone. Once capable of fixing their mechanical workhorses in a barn or under the shade of a tree, many of the nation’s 3.2 million farmers are now faced with tractors that can only be fixed by a manufacturer—a situation that benefits manufacturers’ bottom lines but puts added burdens on often-struggling farmers. But Schwarz and other farmers are fighting back. They’re pushing “right-to-repair” legislation, which would require manufacturers to provide the same information and parts to farmers or independent repair shops as they do for the manufacturers’ repair shops.

This year, right-to-repair bills have been introduced in 11 state legislatures, including Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, and Nebraska. Supporters of the bill are at a distinct monetary disadvantage, though, and policy victories frequently are won by the side that spends the most. A MapLight analysis of state lobbying reports found proponents of right-to-repair legislation have been outspent by a 28-to-1 margin. Companies opposed to the legislation spent more than $2.6 million in New York, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. Meanwhile, the coalition that wants farmers to be able to fix their own tractors has spent $93,620.

“We never doubted that it was going to be difficult, in a David-vs.-Goliath kind of way, to go up against some of the most iconic brands in the world,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, a New Jersey-based coalition that works to promote right-to-repair legislation.

The Case Against Right-to-Repair

Nebraska isn’t short of farmers like Schwarz who want to be able to repair their own equipment. This year, the Nebraska Farm Bureau approved a resolution expressing support for a right-to-repair bill.

Meanwhile, equipment makers—including Deere, which controls as much as 60 percent of the tractor market in the U.S. and Canada—are opposed to the legislation. In a letter laying out its position, Deere argued that current regulations are necessary to maintain product safety and compliance with emissions standards.

“Allowing untrained individuals to modify equipment software can endanger operators, bystanders, dealers, mechanics, customers, and others,” said Ken Golden, a Deere spokesman. He added that customers, dealers, and manufacturers “should work together on the issue rather than invite government regulation that could add costs with no associated value.”

Golden confirmed Deere has lobbied on right-to-repair legislation, but declined to say in which states or how much the company spent. However, records show Deere has retained lobbyists in New York and reported spending $42,000 while lobbying on a 2015 right-to-repair bill in Massachusetts without reporting a position on the bill.

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Deere and other equipment dealers have strong incentives to fight right-to-repair legislation. If farmers are forced to visit authorized dealers, it provides increased business for the manufacturers, and allows them to set the price for parts. Additionally, having only authorized shops able to repair machines means farmers are more likely to buy equipment from manufacturers with authorized shops nearby—which in most areas are the bigger companies such as Deere or Case IH.

Beyond Agriculture

Right-to-repair legislation has attracted more than just tractor manufacturers’ attention, though. If a right-to-repair bill were to pass, it could also affect people ranging from heavy equipment operators to mobile-phone users. Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, has spent $38,700 while lobbying on right-to-repair legislation in New York. The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association spent $38,000 while lobbying against a 2015 right-to-repair bill. And corporate heavyweights including Apple, Verizon, and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) oppose the legislation.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative dark-money organization that proposes model legislation for the states, has also declared its opposition to right-to-repair bills. The council, whose funders include billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch, describes right-to-repair legislation as “government mandates on innovators” that would force them to hand over proprietary information. Both e-commerce trade association NetChoice and telecom giant AT&T, which are opposed to right-to-repair legislation, are also on ALEC’s private enterprise board.

Nebraska, the nation’s fourth-largest agricultural economy, emerged in 2015 as a key battleground for legislative efforts to give farmers like Schwarz the ability to repair their own tractors. Telecom companies and trade associations that lobbied against the bill, including Verizon and CTIA, as well as manufacturing companies such as the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, spent more than $78,000 combined. The lone supporter, the Nebraska Farmers Union, spent $4,400.

Senstor Bob Krist, an Omaha Republican who sits on the legislature’s agriculture committee, said he had mixed feelings about the bill. “When you’re charging $4,500 for a software update for a GPS, I think you’re out of line,” Krist said. He didn’t have to balance his reservations about the bill in a vote on the 2015 measure, though; a series of procedural maneuvers in the state legislature doomed the bill, and it died in committee.

Outside of farm country, right-to-repair laws are also hotly contested. When Massachusetts considered right-to-repair legislation in 2015, opponents included medical companies such as Boston Scientific Corporation and Johnson and Johnson, automotive organizations like the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and technology companies including Apple. Opponents of the bill spent $1.27 million. Its lone supporter, The Repair Association, spent $31,500.

New York also considered right-to-repair legislation in 2015. Opponents spent $1.3 million lobbying in the state, while the coalition that supported the failed bill spent more than $57,000.

Senator Phil Boyle, a Long Island Republican, said he sponsored the legislation after hearing complaints from repair shops in his district, who felt their growth was being stifled by manufacturers.

Future Outlook

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If history is any guide, right-to-repair advocates may look to bypass legislatures in favor of direct voter initiatives. A 2012 Massachusetts ballot measure to give diagnostic and repair information to car owners and repair shops passed with 86 percent of the vote.

“I think the way forward is a state is going to pass [right-to-repair legislation], or we’re going to do a ballot initiative,” The Repair Association’s Gordon-Byrne said. “But is it going to be next year or is it going to be in 10 years? That, I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, Tom Schwarz, the Nebraska farmer, is saving his money so he can afford a new guidance component for his $120,000 tractor. Since Schwarz is an organic farmer who can’t use herbicides, the machine’s guidance system ensures that stray weeds can be removed without damaging his crops. In the meantime, he’s resigned to buying a $3,000 second-hand part from Deere—the only source for the component.

“I’m going to have to buy another receiver,” he said. “This is the second receiver I’ve bought—and every time I do this, it’s thousands of dollars.

“You have no other option,” he said. “You have to go to John Deere for everything.”

[Editor’s note: Visit to read more about the methodology for the data in this article.]

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  1. scott madsen
    This is not different than the car industry, electronics, and any other technology based manufacturer. I personally work at a John Deere dealer and have for 27 years. Some things can not be fixed by farmer customers that lack the training and tools to do so. We spend thousands of dollars keeping techs trained and special tools on hand to fix customer equipment. I don't see any of my customers spending the money to purchase the computer equipment and special tools to fix these problems. That is why companies like John Deere and Case have dealer networks to support the equipment they manufacture.
    • ML
      Thats BS....but then we have found in even recent history that no company is too big or too old to fail....If John Deere does not want to be consumer friendly than the market will fix that.....I am sure other companies and especially the Japanese would be happy to get Deere's business while watching Deere go out of it....I am for all American purchases where possible period..... but don't think being anti consumer will help your business ever...
    • Christopher Kirby
      Must really suck to know they have spent thousands and a guy can fix it with a bender bar and a GED.. You are really full of yourself ---- special tools LMAO yeah gotta drive 5000 miles for Deere's flux compacitator LOL. Yes sir your a real company man..
    • chuck
      You have a bias so your comment must be taken in that light.
    • Chris Russell
      So all I am hearing is me, us, we, us, me. Great mindset for a country that touts fair and equal business practices. Seems like your wanting to corner the market and cut others out while you pawn overly prices parts and services that would break the bank account. I don't buy your line or companies line of bull and if you were really interested for the right reason it would consist of price gouging, it would be reasonable prices and ways to pay for them.
    • Brandon Evans
      Yes, but you are missing one important piece. If my car breaks down, I don't have to go to the dealership to have it fixed. I can go to an independent shop and they can do the work and submit a warranty claim if needed. I can also purchase parts for my car made by third party manufacturers. Same goes for Electronics. If your iPhone isn't working, you aren't required to have Apple fix it. The problem with Deere is it monopolizes the process and makes it so they can charge whatever they want for the repair. The farmer has no choice but to pay what they are asking because no one else is authorized to do the repair
    • tetonper
      Not the same as the car industry. There are 1000s of independent repair shops that can fix even the newest cars. Parts for almost every component are available through the internet. Even in the industrial horsepower world (they have the same enviro regs and safety risks); generators, compressors and other areas of high horsepower has independents and relatively available parts. Too bad for the farmers, they are being held hostage by a few companies wanting to control the whole realm of their industry.
    • Joseph Bitzan
      Until THEY decide not to and render an expensive piece of equipment worthless. It is NOT the right of the manufacturer to decide when a consumer must replace equipment.
    • Dave
      Bull, it's called job security, there are no repairmen today, just part changers
    • Dave C
      So if so few people will try to do the repair themselves because it is so hard, there is very little loss to the company for giving out the information - because most people do not have the skills to try to repair their equipment.

      For the record, I am a backyard mechanic who still does most of his own auto repair - as well as a lot of other repairs around my house. I know when I can't do something - and take it to a repair shop.

      Opposing this legislation is mostly an attempt to hold a monopoly - and the consumer loses. Letting people repair their own things is a mostly win for everyone but the manufacturer, who too often use planned obsolescence to make a profit.
    • Stan
      Possibly your nest quart of milk will cost you 500 times the normal asking price. The farmers can use your same argument. Years of Agricultural school, tons of fertilizer to get your product to market etc.

      This is a BS corporate, lobbyist driven rip off against our agriculture system.
    • BlackBart
      You sound like a company commercial. Having worked in the automotive industry for 45 years I have heard that story and a bunch more. The private industry has those tools, have those skills and could do the work if John Deere was not so closed mouth with the manual's and technical specs for them to do the work. What it is is J D is trying to coral the industry of repair and service from the independents and freeze them out of the loop. Quit mouthing the party line and be honest for a change.
    • gfox5489
      We don't have the money you do.
  2. rgw46
    This is a Corp. rip off to farmers..they know what they are doing..
  3. These damn greedy companies produce shoddy equipment then chg an arm and a leg to replace it. Had a small drive shaft break on a JD utiility tractor and they charged over $700 for the replacement part! A 12x1 inch steelbar with a welded u-joint at each end probably costs them $25! My next tractor won't be green!
    • Chris Russell
      You would be surprised how this same manipulation exist in many facets of American Companies. From your food to cars. It's a monopoly they all want to enslave you and make you pay your hard earned cash for overly prices sales and service, which could be done for a lot less if you bought second hand or repaired, and they know this. Monopolizing the market means they can charge more and manipulate you as a consumer. Good for who?
    • james karalis
      You should have had one made at a welding shop or made one your self
    • Reggie
      Good for you Gary K. I hope many many more follow your lead, NO MORE GREEN YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
  4. Jim Cochran
    Fight this on every level. This is a direct violation of property rights. This is a major rip off of the 1st order. Most manufacturer's dealers can't fix the equipment they sell right now and if they can can they choose the most expensive method because they make more money off of maintainence than they do selling the product. Second they stop selling parts after 10 years and the aftermarket bails them out or you have to buy an new product which you may not like as well as the one you have. And without the after market they will have on competition and we know how that will not work for you. Not only the farmer's associations should fight this but so should every consumer. Your food will cost more and it will be of lower quality. Next with they will do that to all the cars and appliance you buy and they watch the $$$ and pain hit you. NO NO NO NO.
  5. pomoc
    This kind of control is out of control should spark a big interest in equipment with out all the do dads things you can fix . Emissions my rear just get the jobs done emissions when it comes to producing food is a joke .
  6. dws
    Solution: stop buying such tractors.
    • Dave
      exactly right, buy equipment that you can buy replacement parts for and let the greedy companies eat their parts.
  7. Tom
    I stand behind the farmers in this, $3000 for a component that is probable sourced for a 10th of that price for the manufacture.
    No wonder our food is so high.
    We have to help our farmers have a fighting chance.
  8. Ray Sachs
    I own a JD 1025R. Although I had under 200 hours on the tractor, fewer hours on the 60 inch mower deck, the gearbox on the mower blew the oil seal, losing the gear grease. I thought it was still under warranty, the part from JD was $1000. the bearings in the gearbox were gear oil lubricated, not sealed grease bearings. A poor design to begin with. Once the seal was damaged, it only takes a few minutes and the bearings falter, ruining the gearbox. JD settled on selling me the gearbox, which I installed for $250. My point, JD charges an absurd amount of money for their parts.
  9. dave condon
    What the article fails to mention directly is that the problems are mostly electronic in nature and the farmer/owner isn't even allowed to diagnose a problem on his own equipment !!! The only ' maintenance a farmer /owner is allowed to do is put fuel in ,check the oil and make sure the tires all have enough air in them !!!!! EVERYTHING else is manufacturer or mechanic only !!!!! Some electronics like the one the farmer mentioned he needed aren't available aftermarket and in most cases used ones aren't available either !!! Besides the fact can the farmer replace the part himself or does a trained factory mechanic have to do it ?? As more and more electronic controls are used for gps guidance and in some cases self driving the framer/owner may have even less of a choice as to how little he can legally do !
  10. This has happened before on a bigger but less insidious scale. There are existing federal laws against monopolies and this seems to apply. Filing lawsuits, bypassing state governments and getting big brother involved seems necessary.
  11. Frank
    As an independent certified master medium/heavy truck repair shop owner and former dealership mechanic, I can tell you that the manufacturers want to put the local repair shops and shade tree repair technicians out of business! That way you have to bring it to their dealership and they can charge any exorbitant hourly shop rate and parts price they want and the customer is totally at their mercy! Most of the folks who work in parts at them have a nonchalant don't give a damn cavalier attitude and care zero about your plight! We have to find some way to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all! It's boils down to only GREED!!!
    • james karalis
      The labor rate at Frightliner In Houston Texas is $ 145.00 per Hr !
    Hey GOLDEN it's called repairing not MODIFING.
  13. I would not be surprised if the farmers are working a lot harder, getting a lot less while the manufacturers are living the cushy life as they pretend, and complain about how hard life is for them.
    • And, as follow-up to my post, I think powerful companies so sick and infested with all their social genius diseases and trickery have only one answer to me - destroy me, threaten my family, etc.
  14. Concerned
    The Amish don't have these problems.........
  15. This needs to be pressed to the max. What a bunch of nonsense. Farmers are just having it tough. The price of wheat, corn, hell every farm product has been low. The price of wheat alone has not increased significantly in years. At the same time equipment prices including a truck have gone through the roof. The same with fertilizer seeds etc. Enough it is not just farmers getting hosed but the ordinary working man. Hell I can buy a house cheaper than what a new truck cost. Manufactures make enough. they need to up quality reduce prices & quit trying to rip off the real working man.
  16. jackcandobutwont
    John Deere makes great tractors, but they ARE WRONG on this issue!!!
  17. Greg
    It's no surprise that farm equipment (and other areas) is following the auto industry's "planned obsolescence" policy in addition to making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for equipment owners to make repairs. As more and more of a vehicles operation depends on computerized software and components, the shade tree mechanic is finding himself less and less effective at being able to offset costs. And those costs don't stop at parts and labor. Contact a local equipment transfer company and get a quote on hauling a large combine 50 miles. When Deere argues that "regulations are necessary to maintain product safety and compliance with emissions standards." one can see the writing on the wall. But how would a part that supports a guidance system affect emissions? Does the steering wheel on your car affect emissions?

    The process is rooted entirely in the bottom line. The corporate culture has no room for concern about its customers, the environment or even its employees. the barest minimums will be met to meet the needs of these components of business. What can be done to increase profit margins and satisfy investors is the ONLY element of business that matters. It will be no surprise to see an increase in foreign equipment on American farms.
  18. I have a 1958 Massey-Ferguson that I have run on my farm for 39 years and as my mechanics say"There is nothing that cannot be repaired on a Tractor" Split the cases, seals, every working part just about. I admit the older models have better availability with parts.
    • james karalis
      I my driving a 1998 frightliner , And well the rest of the time i am out here , when something happens were it can't be fixed i well quit working and ride the wheels off 1962 XLCH magneto fired . kick start !
  19. Steve Sims
    Another option for farmers would be a contract on equipment that has option that if problem not corrected within a certain time period the manufacture must suppl new part untill problem repaired. Would not matter if part is under warranty or not.
  20. David Chenoweth
    Unfortunately this only the beginning of industry taking advantage of its customers. The automotive industry is trying to do the same thing. Whats next? Will you be able to perform simple home repairs? (Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Stove)
  21. Fred
    Yes, technology has become more complex, but it has become ridiculous. Is it really necessary to have farm equipment that is this complicated in the first place?
  22. There needs to be a line somewhere if the mfg. doesn't support a part they should release info needed to repair the part.
    Are they trying to put the farmer out of business? Farmers struggle as it is without being gouged by the mfg. supposedly supporting them.
  23. kier palo
    corporate greed at its finest!!!
  24. I think it is time for farmers to seek out manufactures that do allow the end user to do there own repairs. John Deere makes great equipment until it breaks. I will not own a tractor that I am not able to buy parts and repair myself.
  25. welcome to the

    "New World Disorder"
  26. Sue Hucke
    There's a method to their madness in doing this. It's improving John Deere's and other manufacturers bottom line tremendously. These are very high priced tractors to begin with, then you must go to the dealer to get the repaired. How long can they keep this up?
  27. Mike Newman
    I stopped using John Deere a long time ago !! They have started putting their name on junk ! And no longer care for the professional Farmer/Rancher. The want to sell the small stuff.
    • Carl Lynch
      Interesting, I work on lawn and garden equipment along with automotive repair at my shop. A friend of mine ruined their old push mower by hitting a pipe. I told them what not to buy. When they went to the JD store to get parts for their tractor so I could fix it, they saw this dealer sold Honda mowers. So they bought a Honda mower from a JD dealer. When they asked why the dealer doesnt sell JD walk behind mowers the answer they got was that they had too many problems with the engines on the JD mowers. The company who JD buys their engines from is the same company I have turned in numerous warranty claims on their engines. This company use to make quality engines. Yes built in Wisconsin, or was.
  28. Chris Russell
    Should we really give carte-blanche free will to these companies without government oversight and regulations. This is what it's coming to and its abusive. Maybe we should quit treating companies like gold and make them pay for the right to produce in this country. Create a counter balance.
  29. Fisher
    Don’t forget that this applies to everyone in in America. Your car, your truck, your fridge, your home, these all need repair at some time. Do you want the Government to accept the $Billions of hush money by corporate backed lobbyist to legislate away your right to fix your property?

    The ‘modern’ throwaway society that we are in right now has been forced upon us by manufactures not producing quality products that can be fixed. They know that it is better for their profit to produce crap and make us buy another. When repair is an option, they try to monopolize that to. As a Veteran and a Farmer, I make do with what I have and do my dandiest to repair things myself.
  30. Roger Cartwright
    One of the reasons I drive older cars is the same reason this farmer should perhaps consider an older tractor from a competitor of John Deere. Farmers have been getting the job done for decades without all the bells and whistles on todays tractor, and while it's not as efficient, it can be done. Won't take more than a few hundred good size farmers to turn that direction to get the attention and assistance they are asking for (I think).
  31. William Spani
    Follow on, When I bought a 7 acre place it had a Crapsman tractor mower, blew it up, went shopping for a new one, neighbor had a jd 310, I bought a Husqvarna and it is far superior to any deere. Piss off you greedy bastards, your forcing us buy foreign So long "Made in USA". Soooo Sad. Automakers are trying it too. Sorry boys, If I own it I own EVERY part of it, And your software too.
  32. Ronald C Watt
    Buy older machinery and keep rebuilding it yourself. Let the big greedy companies keep their fancy gadgets.
    Buyers can force them to change or go broke. You do not have to be first to smell new paint,
    It is you or them.
  33. jon dear
    They pulled this BS in the automotive market and the counterfeit diagnostic tools from china flooded the marketplace and it backfired on them. You can buy the 20k mercedes system on ebay for 600 bucks all in.
  34. Joseph Kiesznoski
    Farmers should have the right to repair their tractors, With out being over charged or ripped off.
  35. John Lopez
    You already have a right to repair. You just don't have the right to force manufacturers to provide you with technical specs. If it's a major selling point, farmers will buy tractors from manufacturers who provide such specs, or enterprising repair shops will take apart a tractor and figure out how to repair them.
  36. Martin Knife Chief
    same thing with cars and trucks. I fixed my own truck by using lender tools from the auto parts place...and a belt I bought for $30. it would have cost $200 to have a 'certified' mechanic come out and do it! farm machinery is much the same.
    The ability of farmers to fix things has always been good until the manufacturers make things that can't be fixed by anyone but their own people. They 'control' every aspect of it so you have to get it done from them! Veterinarians have done the we used to vaccinate our own animals with things available at feed stores. Now, you can't get them! Greed is the driving force...keep them a 'captive audience' and a 'forever' customer... not from good service, but by forcing them to buy from you, or you end up with a non-working piece of crap worth thousands of dollars!!!
  37. Edward Auld
    I'l not be buying a John Deere tractor. I'll be looking for a company that allows right-to-repair !
  38. Tom
    I have always said: Fight for what you believe in. Don't let people disappoint you. Wishing you the best. Tom, Raleigh NC. 27604
  39. Kristina Mason
    Hmmm...this looks like an opening for an Elon Musk! Screw John Deere and those other manufacturers for treating farmers like dirt. Can't someone come up with a competing piece of equipment?
  40. Mike Casanova
    Can I help? I'm with you.
  41. Charles Hohn
    The ability to buy and install parts and access to software to help with the repairs is certainly needed after warranty and more so after oem parts stops. This whole thing is a power grab by the Manufacturer's to force new unit sales.
  42. Cliff Bailey
    I've been saying car maufacters have been doing this to us for years.
  43. Larry Markham
    that is the big companies way of making you do business there way saying it is harmful if you repair it yourself or no wants allow anybody else learn the knowledge I have seen this when I was growing up and working in my dad HVAC Business the gas valves repair kits in heaters that worked great and only cost a few dollars then big air conditioning companies got involved than it become dangerous now you have purchase the gas valve not the repair kits
  44. james karalis
    Did any of you farmers ever think of rebuilding older tractors that don't use all this high tec crap ! how did the job get done 30 years ago ? I own a truck 18 wheeler It well soon be 20 years old , No GPS ( I use paper maps ) No hitech crap , No EGR , its a 1998 model and does the job just fine , and the best pare it's payed for . It can be fixed anywhere even on the side of the road , This is my last truck i well ever buy !
  45. BlackBart
    As a long time automotive tech I have seen first Ford and then others use "propriety" parts and withhold information from the independent industry. The feds came in and kicked them to the street and MADE them provide that information to the independents and also the tools that were required to effect those repairs. There are still some areas that they hold sacred, but the majority of that information, tools and technology is now radially available. We need to kick some congressional ass to get them off it and provide the repair industry with that knowledge.
  46. Sandie
    This is just another example of the big manufacture locking out competition so they can keep the profits up for the share holders.
  47. Barry L Elder
    Another good reason to dump the entire "Farm Bill" and force Congress to return their bribes to the Manufacturers and the ABA. Completely end Welfare, including Farm Welfare, Corporate Welfare, Immigrant Welfare, Welfare for those who don't want to work and women who have more than one child out of wedlock!
  48. John Sobolewski
    Deere and Case have become the slave owners, and instead of competative bidding for work, they have created a monopoly. I will never buy another deere or case product.
  49. Josh
    This cannot pass. Yeah it sucks paying that much for parts but you're controlling an industry. You open it up you are going to flood it with cheap Chinese parts and going to kill american jobs in return. The factories that make the parts, the engineers, mechanics that all make an above average wage doing these jobs will all be gone. A farmer makes between 300-600k gross profit a year on average. Dont feel to bad for these guys. Most time insurance and warranties have them covered.
  50. Return on investment is what drives our corporate world, the stockholder is most important, when i bought my 4120 JD tractor form my local JD dealer he informed me the shop rate was $125/hr, not as bad as a mercedes i recall him saying, well guess what buddy, farmer work on a tight margin, just cuz you can afford a mercedes doesn't mean a farmer can afford those kind of shop rates, corporate greed will kill this country, Trumpets, pay attention!!
  51. Martin Picazzo
    It is the same thing with my international pro eagle max force .. I had to spent close to $11,000 dollars to get my semi fixed and still it is not working as it should be
  52. Reggie
    Well with our $$$ system the big get bigger and more overpowering each day, with most bad Senators and Bad Congressmen in their back pocket. This needs to be fixed for the USA farmer of the world
  53. bo
    i want to know how the Amish feel about this. Guidance systems?? how about some low tech tractors, back to basics, forget the tech. I did and am very happy
  54. Robert Bohl
    If the manufactures get this right-to-repair legislation stopped, where will it eventually stop. Will the automobile manufactures be next to require all products repaired in their shops, then the appliance manufactures, tire manufactures, and will the list keep going that we no longer have independent repair of anything? What will happen with collectors of old tractors, cars etc. if no parts will be available?
  55. So if his international tractor broke down, why are you complaining about fixing a john Deere??
  56. You Gruber
    Moral of the story:
    Don't buy equipment from manufacturers that Rape their own Customers. I have NEVER bought ANY piece of equipment that I cannot repair myself, or buy after-market parts. My equipment is OLD, but it works, is repairable and/or rebuild-able, an a LOT cheaper than the new stuff that breaks down and breaks your bank. And I don't have to go crying to the government to do it. Or bribe someone with my seed-money.
  57. jgecko
    Ford filed a DESIGN patent for a new model windshield. That gives Ford the legal right to prevent ANYONE else from making the windshield because like many windshields it is a custom fit. That means until the patent expires, windshield repair companies, parts stores, and the car owners will have to purchase the replacement windshield FROM FORD only. I assume Ford will continue doing this in years to come with parts that normally just about any parts company could fabricate very easily (panels, trim, lenses, etc). The legal threat is likely also intended by Ford to stop any 3D "printing" of parts...a parts solution that has been becoming more available.
  58. Core
    This is how the consumer loses in the modern era. They sell disposable junk with no recourse. We need to take action and sue these greedy bastards. I recommend selling the disposable junk and buying a brand that the manufacturer stands behind if at all possible. I used to maintain a 1952 Ford tractor and it still runs to this day.
  59. gfox5489
    It is the same way with autos, I use to be able to overhaul my chevy 327 engine,but now with all the computers in the cars now I have to take it to the shop to get it fixed. That's why I buy the extended warranty and when it expires I just get me a new one and start over. I keep my vehicle looking like new and with low mileage I get a higher return on it.
    It is just the way these big companies want to keep the farmers in the poor house.
  60. Rob
    The blame needs to put where it belongs with the government, they put their gready porky fingers into everything and the outcome ie we get screwed and they get rich... Farmers get federal money congress gets money from the lobyists it is a cycle ans we are on the losing end.. I live in a rural area where there is dairy and beef every year or two certain farmers have all new machines. They cannot fix them. If you took away the money congress gets from lobbyists. They no longer have skin in the game so the manufacturer's. Will be forced to release parts and information on repairing as the farmers can get laws passed.. This is all about greed corperate as well as lawmakers.. They were to work for us.
  61. Years ago i had a cousin that owned a small farm i Pennsylvania, i thought the guidance system on his equipment was the person running it.
  62. ajax
    it's the same with cars and appliances. the board recently went wonky on my 7 year old dishwasher. the cost of the board plus labor was about half the cost of buying new. nothing i could fix myself. but had an honest repair guy who told me the thing to do was to buy a new dishwasher that operated mechanically instead of electronically. there was only one model available at lowe's which had to be ordered. you can bet there are accountants working for the manufacturers who have all the repair data and are busy figuring how to increase their bottom line.
  63. Carl Lynch
    Struggling farmers. Come to my area and I will show you the poor farmers new houses, combines, grain bins, pickups, buildings. Yea poor.
  64. Deborah Jean Revell
    Haven't the tractor companies made enough of the backs of hard working farmers? They probably know this part will fail or wear out quickly. The public won't understand why farmers have to charge more for their product. This is why. It surprises me that there are still farmers. Trust me people we don't want monsanto types controlling what we eat. Farmers are the backbone of America. They fed out great grandparents so they could go off to cities and make lot's of money for us. Now we have to stand up for the farmers.
  65. martin imes
    all semi truck manufactures are doing the same thing have to take it to a dealer to get a computer analisys at 125 .00 a hour or more im sorry but i dont think any 1 mechanic shop should be aloud to charge that kinda money per hr then thousands to fix it .its killing small trucking companies american greed leading to nothing but big corporations left
  66. Another American company that has had support and income for decades has decided to gamble their future for the quick bucks of stealing from the small farmer. One other thing, I'm certain there are any # of Orientals building replacements for the electronics that Deere is gouging their public for at the moment. This is what happens when a corporation has a dictator for CEO, the accountants make all decisions. This is a PR nightmare that will make United Airlines look good. When GREED determines all decisions call the bankruptcy attorneys. The children of today's farmers will never buy anything with the word Deere on it again. By the way, since when does an American farmer need GPS? All the farmers I've known had already memorized every square foot of land they work, exactly where each crop was planted, and when they may expect harvest. This is just my opinion, but I bet a company like Mitsubishi(or Kabota) could create electronics to replace the Deere parts without things like GPS....... America is a wonderful place until a corporation takes advantage of the little guy, then Deere will see how innovative an American with the internet can be at alerting the Japanese electronics builders of a new market. Henry
  67. willie k. hewett
    It's always been a way to make more money by these companies...this has been going on for years..just like the automobile industry, they make things now where the average guy can't work on his own car...monopoly on parts..have you priced those replacement headlight lenses for those cheap poorly made plastic pieces junk?? My 08 $400.00 per piece.....
  68. Right of repair is critical to human survival, whether it's mobile phone, personal car, farm equipment or computer. Without our gear we cannot participate, so right of repair is the same as right to not be enslaved!
  69. steve clark
    when i buy a tractor i own it. i should be allowed to repair it the way i choose & should be allowed access to all available information to do so @ a reasonable cost.
  70. Howard Maxwell Miller
    It has to be accepted by tractor manufacturers, that tractors are usually an expensive ten year investment, so manufacturers should be legislated to provide replacement parts for this working life. Exchange major parts are a satisfactory beginning. Sadly with tractors coming from unregulated manufacturers, such as Asia, there does come a question as to whether these items should be imported, if the manufacturer is in no position to repair their goods in the near future. As far as complex IT dependent components go, I am already ready to wring the necks of the management of the Computer Industry, talk about fools and wastage of finite resources, if your tractor depends on these nerds and their hopeless ethics, my prayers are with you.?? I am licensed in Mechanics and IT and teach at Technical College. The Industry is in hopeless turmoil, without long term answers.
  71. Ksubrent61
    " Recently, a component in the guidance system on Schwarz’s John Deere 7230 tractor, which he uses to plant his crops, broke. "

    OK, I am calling a little bit of BS on this article. While my family has had issues with John Deere in the past when it comes to parts and repairs, they involved the ECM. Of course John Deere doesn't want people jailbreaking the code that runs their machines, just like Apple, Andriod, Samsung and Microsoft don't want you dicking with the code that runs their products. Besides, how many software engineers also farm? Probably not many. Second, if he had problems with his autosteer, he can by a new one and put it on. They are pretty much universal and if he doesn't want Greenstar, there are aftermarket retrofit kits out there that he can install. I have seen an autosteer system on an old Farmall H. It was comical to see.

    "Since the Moline, Illinois-based company no longer supports his tractor’s system, Schwarz is looking at a $3,000 bill for a used electrical part. " I am also calling more BS on this. A few years ago my dad and I rebuilt a John Deere 720 that my grandfather bought brand new in 1952. Our John Deere dealer still could get John Deere parts for that tractor. If John Deere still has parts for a tractor that is almost 65 years old, I suspect they still support a model tractor that went out of production in 2011.

    But again, if they don't he can always get an aftermarket retrofit kit for his tractor.
  72. Sandy
    Maybe they should also explore "lemon laws" for these fancy tractors. He actually bought 3 of these receivers--the one that came on the tractor and 2 replacements.
  73. Richard Marvin
    Today, repairs are much more complicated. Recently, a component in the guidance system on Schwarz’s John Deere 7230 tractor, which he uses to plant his crops, broke. Since the Moline, Illinois-based company no longer supports his tractor’s system, Schwarz is looking at a $3,000 bill for a used electrical part. He would like to just get his current component repaired, but manufacturers won’t provide independent shops with the guides or technology that would allow them to fix it, and Deere—one of the few tractor manufacturers with an authorized repair shop in south-central Nebraska—won’t repair older parts if it no longer supports them.

    This kind of looks like a case of restricted free trade !
    I would also consider looking into setting up a technical class in a High School or Community College to teach students and adults to repair these systems. One might be able to then get the Federal Education Dept to take on the companies, as many are looking of workers.
    Good luck to you.
  74. Nice article! I love to read your articles. Here are so many interesting things. Thanks and keep sharing.
    • I'm working with full restored deere 4030 and I have no problem with it.
  75. Teri Croft
    I am a 65 year old woman. My husband and I maintain our family's rental properties (40 units) and do most of the work (including plumbing, electrical, HVAC) ourselves. Reality#1: repair and maintenance will continue (and probably increase) by owners using the internet and other self-help resources. Reality #2: most complicated procedures will continue to be left to a service provider/contractor. Rather than fight this trend, companies should look at owners as another source of revenue.

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