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Americans are losing the right to repair their own vehicles, gadgets, and appliances. Big business is explicitly waging a war on self-sufficiency with restrictive contracts.
For instance, John Deere is requiring farmers to sign agreements not to touch the software on their equipment. Under those circumstances, farmers have to go to dealers for all repairs and upgrades to electronics, Wired reports.
Golden State farmers lost their right to repair John Deere equipment because of an agreement signed by the California Farm Bureau. Motherboard describes the agreement as “selling out farmers” and “enshrining John Deere’s tractor monopoly.”
Farm Bureau Sells Out Farmers’ Right To Repair
Consequently, John Deere could sue or prosecute farmers for working on their own equipment. Farmers could face legal action for violating agreements that prevent them from working with software.
Conversely, the Equipment Dealers Association claims it is “protecting” farmers’ right to repair with the agreement. For example, the association will make technical manuals, product guides, and diagnostic tools available to farmers.
The Association is fighting the proposed right to repair legislation in state legislatures, Motherboard reports. In particular, the association opposes the proposed Electronics Right to Repair Act. Correspondingly, John Deere is a member of the Equipment Dealers Association.
How The Farm Bureau Sold California Farmers’ Right To Repair
The California Farm Bureau apparently dropped its support for that legislation with the agreement.
“This is a bad deal for farmers, who are now almost certainly screwed in California,” Jason Koebler wrote in Motherboard. Koebler thinks the California Right to Repair Act will not cover farm equipment because of the agreement.
“When it is up to the manufacturer to decide what information to share and what to withhold, you haven’t addressed the problem,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of the Repair Association, observes. For instance, Byrne believes farmers will not get updates or patches to software under the agreement.
Specifically, farmers will need updates and patches to software to keep computerized machines running. Furthermore, farmers cannot install cheaper or better nonproprietary software on John Deere equipment. Nonproprietary software simply means that it comes from other companies.
Your Right To Repair Your Property Is Under Threat
Big business threatens everybody’s right to repair, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens believes. In particular, Wiens thinks farmers will be the first but not the last group to lose the right to repair.
Big business is trying to take your right to repair away by making it illegal to modify software without permission, Wiens charges in Wired. Notably, Wiens writes, “modifying software is a routine part of modern repair.”
Banning software modifications will force people to buy new products they do not need. For example, it could force a farmer to buy an expensive new tractor or combine because of outdated software.
Therefore, the farmer will scrap or sell a perfectly good machine. Moreover, the farmer could be forced deeper into debt by taking out loans to buy the new machine.
Farmers’ Loss Of Right To Repair Threatens Food Freedom
It is important to realize that the loss of farmers’ right to repair increases the stranglehold big business has on the food supply.
Ultimately, farmers that cannot repair their own tractors lose their freedom to decide what crops to grow. In the long run, losing the right to repair will convince many independent farmers to quit.
As a result, Big Agriculture’s food monopoly will grow and average people will have fewer choices at the grocery store. Under those circumstances, the only way for people to escape Big Agriculture is to grow their own food.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Industrial Agriculture Threatens America’s Food Supply
What are your thoughts on farmers’ right to repair their own tractors? Let us know in the comments below.