Farmers Finally Allowed to Repair the Stuff They Own

Let's start with the end of this story first: John Deere sucks. That is the most important part to know because, like others, they have fought tooth and nail to stop people from repairing the stuff they buy from Deere. In a society that's moving more toward renting everything, being locked out of fixing your farm equipment is nearly the definition of absurd. So what's the deal? P.j. Huffstutter from Reuters has news about an agreement between these two groups.

Equipment makers such as Deere have generally required customers to use their parts and service divisions for repairs and until recently, only allowed authorized dealers the means and tools to access the complex computerized systems of their tractors and other machinery.

The Farm Bureau's memorandum of understanding with Deere "will ensure farmers everywhere are able to repair our own equipment," Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall said, speaking at the federation's convention in Puerto Rico.


Deere has intentionally locked out farmers and anyone else who buys their equipment from performing repairs and working on them. That means when something breaks it's a trip to a dealer or having someone specific come out to diagnose the problem and fix it. Essentially it's a form of lock-in. And it's absurd.

While I am a fan of Apple and its products, I have always been against their stance on repairability lockout. To fix a MacBook last year I needed to buy special tools, parts, and use specific unauthorized walkthroughs. While I'm technically adept at doing those things, I'm not as dependent on a computer as a farmer is on the literal equipment they use for their livelihood.

It's nice to see Right to Repair make some gains in this realm, but it seems like it shouldn't be necessary. Let people tinker with the stuff they have. It's the way things have always been and when we own our stuff, it's a right we should have. The tractor doesn't belong to Deere once it's paid for. An Apple product is mine the moment I walked out of the store with it. A Tesla feature that's been unlocked by an add-on purchase is something that's owned by whoever owns the car.

This whole thing is insanity and why Deere sucks.