Farmers fight for right to repair ag equipment

By Alice McFarlane
January 4, 2019 - 5:00pm

There is growing concern about farmers’ ability to repair their own equipment.

The challenge comes when computer technology is a key component of tractors and combines.

The "right to repair" farm machinery debate will be discussed at the CropSphere conference in Saskatoon Jan. 15 and 16.

Nebraska farmer Tom Schwarz will speak to the issue which will be followed by a question and answer session.

"It’s kind of an unusual situation that has development worldwide. The technology in phones and computers has made them almost disposable items. When someone has problems with a $400 phone they don’t mess with fixing it, they get a new one. The legal arena somewhat used those phones and tractors as being the same thing,” Schwarz said. “Farmers can’t treat tractors as disposable items. We can’t just walk away from it. We’ve got to have the ability to repair them and we’ve got to have the ability to repair them in a timely fashion. When you’re in the middle of harvest, you can’t be waiting a few days for somebody to get to you to repair an item. Having the ability to have more people fix your equipment rather than less is really important to us.”

The presentation is called "Equipment Manufacturers or Software Companies? The Farmer's Right to Repair in This New Paradigm. Schwarz will explain the current situation in the United States and the implications for Canadian farmers on Wednesday Jan. 16 at TCU Place in Saskatoon.

On Twitter: @AliceMcF

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