After years of discussions, the American Farm Bureau Federation continues to expand the equipment brands covered by “right to repair” agreements, announcing a memorandum of understanding today with CNH Industrial brands, Case IH and New Holland. The MOU follows a similar agreement AFBF entered into with John Deere earlier this year.
"Our members urged us to find a private sector-solution that gives them access to repair their own equipment and I'm pleased months of discussions have again paid off," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a release.
The MOU establishes a framework for farmers and independent repair facilities in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico to access CNH Industrial brand manuals, tools, product guides and information to self-diagnose and then repair their machines. It also covers support from CNH Industrial brands to directly purchase diagnostic tools and order products and parts. At the same time, the parties underscored that intellectual property rights would be respected and safety controls and emission systems would not altered.
Sam Kieffer, vice president, public policy, for AFBF described the MOUs as “a starting point, certainly not an endpoint.
“We recognize that technology will continue to evolve. Part of the agreement with both Deere and Case New Holland is that we will come to the table multiple times a year to talk about what our members are experiencing,” Kieffer said.
If improvements need to be made, Kieffer said the agreements could be changed in the future.
He said initial feedback that he’s received through state farm bureaus has been positive about AFBF’s efforts to reach near-term solutions using the private-sector agreements.
“Our folks strongly believe in intellectual property rights. They have told us repeatedly they just want to be able to make the repair and get the job done. They don't want to alter the computer code,” he said. Plus, AFBF members didn’t want a long, drawn-out legislative or regulatory solution, he added.
“Our folks are grateful that there is a solution that can evolve with the technology in real time and not be stuck in legislative or regulatory limbo,” Kieffer said.
While green, red and blue farm equipment is now covered by these MOUs, Kieffer said more could be on the way.
“I suspect there will be additional colors added to the mix in the future,” he said.
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