Friday, September 22, 2023

John Deere commits to letting farmers fix their own tractors (sort of)

Must read

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

John Deere has been at the center of the right-to-repair debate for years, and not in a good way. The company placed software locks on equipment that only authorized dealers can disable, preventing farmers or an independent repair shop from diagnosing and repairing a machine. It can also disable machines remotely at any time (as it demonstrated when the Russians stole Ukrainian farm equipment last year). These restrictions have resulted some farmers tired of hacking their tractorssomething this new agreement should remedy.

The Memorandum of Understanding ensures that John Deere makes its software, tools and documentation available to both farmers and independent repair shops. It also notes that third-party owners and engineers cannot compromise a machine’s security features through modifications and assures that John Deere’s copyrighted software is “fully protected against illegal infringement,” likely through modifications made by hacking.

While this may seem like a step in the right direction, it is written so that John Deere could get around federal or state right-to-repair laws. In the agreement, the AFBF says it will “encourage state Farm Bureau organizations to recognize these commitments” and “to refrain from introducing, promoting or supporting any federal or state ‘Right to Repair’ legislation.” If right-to-repair legislation is passed, the AFBF and John Deere may opt out of the agreement. In other words, it appears that John Deere wants to participate in the right to repair on its own terms – not through legislation that could potentially strengthen and expand repair rights for consumers.

John Deere has slowly relaxed restrictions on the repairability of its equipment in response to widespread criticism of its policies and promised to expand availability of its diagnostic tools in 2023. In a 2021 Decoder interview, John Deere CTO Jahmy Hindman argued that the company is “committed to enabling customers to repair the products they buy” and that customers can repair most problems on a piece of John Deere equipment:

There is nothing forbidding them to do them. Their keys are the same size as our keys. That all works. If someone wants to go and fix a diesel engine in a tractor, they can tear it down and fix it. We make the service manuals available. We make the parts available, we make the how-to available for them to tear it down and rebuild it.

As part of the agreement, John Deere and the AFBF will meet “at least semi-annually” to evaluate how the equipment manufacturer is handling operational issues and to propose updates to the memorandum of understanding, and to discuss anything related to the right to – repair movement, which is starting to heat up in the US.

Late last year, New York became the first state to enact the Digital Fair Repair Act, a law that gives consumers and independent technicians the right to get the manuals, schematics, diagnostics, and parts they need from original equipment manufacturers to repair themselves. repair devices. However, a controversial adjustment severely limits the bill, allowing OEMs to sell kits of parts rather than individual pieces. Nor does it force them to provide the necessary information to bypass software locks.

“Machinery and equipment and the products our customers invest in are a great investment,” David Gilmore, John Deere’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. “And the ability for them to maximize that equipment’s uptime and minimize downtime is an important area of ​​focus for our organization and for the industry.”

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article