Today, Senator Tester (D-MT) announced the Agriculture Right to Repair Act. Farm Action applauds the Senator for filing this legislation, which restores innovation, flexibility, and economic opportunity to farmers and rural communities.
By restricting access to basic diagnostic tools and limiting farm equipment repair to authorized dealers, corporate farm equipment manufacturers have taken away farmers’ consumer rights. This situation burdens farmers with long equipment transports and wait-times for repairs, resulting in losses of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential yields. This has also harmed rural economies via the collapse of the small business mechanics and repair shops, which are not permitted access to the tools they need to fix their neighbors’ equipment.
The Agriculture Right to Repair Act counterbalances the excessive power consolidated by global equipment manufacturers by requiring them to share basic diagnostic and repair tools with equipment owners and repair shops. The bill also empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations toward the bill’s objectives; this dovetails with the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which calls on the FTC to exercise its rulemaking authority over anticompetitive restrictions on third-party or self-repair of items.
“This bill really is about giving farmers and small businesses a fighting chance,” said Sarah Carden, Policy Advocate for Farm Action. “For too long, corporations have stifled the spirit of self-sufficiency and innovation in rural America. By correcting a power imbalance, this bill will create financial opportunity and give farmers the tools they need to successfully produce our food.”
The Agriculture Right to Repair Act is part of a broader right to repair movement. In every sector, consumer rights have been stripped away by global corporations, which have discovered that monopolizing the repair market can be much more profitable than new equipment sales. This is tantamount to an attack on independent repair shops — small businesses that once flourished in rural America. Farm Action is working with Repair.org, US PIRG, and others to build momentum on the state level to restore consumer rights and give small rural businesses a fighting chance.
Media Contact: Dee Laninga, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.450.0094