AEM says Right-to-Repair would have unintended consequences
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says right-to-repair legislation is unnecessary. Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of Agriculture & Forestry, says there’s a misunderstanding about right-to-repair in the age industry, “Farmers have always had and will continue to have the ability to repair their own equipment. That’s a baseline. That’s not being debated at all.”
While AEM supports that right, Blades says they are opposed to the modification of ag equipment that could impact the safety, regulatory compliance and intellectual property. He says opposition is driven by repair tech companies, not ag groups.
“Farmers are being used as unknowing pawns in the larger, digital special interest agenda,” adding, a disparaging article about eight years ago in Wired Magazine was used to drum up support in rural areas, “To get legislation passed or at least get support for legislation that would potentially set a precedent that would later be expanded into a bigger agenda to open up the source code of other pieces of equipment.”
Starting January 1st, ag equipment makers agreed to make manuals available to farmers to better help them make repairs. But, he says, source codes would not be provided because there are repairs that must be made by trained professionals, “Such as reset of an immobilization system. Reprogramming of the processing units that have to do with engine control.”
Blades says since 2016, there are been at least 30 states attempting to require access by farmers to machinery source codes through well-intended legislation that would have unintended consequences.
Blades was a presenter on an AgriBusiness Council of Kansas City webinar.