According to a press release from the organization, the American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere have signed a memorandum of understanding (on 1/8/23) that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ the right to repair their own farm equipment. The MOU (memorandum of understanding), signed at the 2023 AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the conclusion of several years of deliberations between the AFBF (American Farm Bureau Federation) and John Deere.

Credit: Getty Images / Farm Bureau / John Deere

“AFBF is pleased to announce this agreement with John Deere. It addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information and resources, while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety. A piece of equipment is a major investment. Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs. The MOU commits John Deere to ensuring farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber America’s families rely on.”

-Vincent 'Zippy' Duval, American Farm Bureau Federation President

The MOU sets parameters and creates a mechanism to address farmers’ concerns. John Deere commits to engaging with farmers and dealers to resolve issues when they arise and agrees to meet with AFBF at least twice per year to evaluate progress.

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The Memorandum of Understanding states that the whole purpose of the agreement is to:

  1. Continue to enhance the ability of Farmers to timely control the lawful operation and upkeep of Agricultural Equipment
  2. Assure the timely availability, on Fair and Reasonable terms, of Tools, Specialty Tools, Software and Documentation originating from Manufacturer, and Data from the operation of Agricultural Equipment originating from Manufacturer
  3. Assure that no safety controls or protocols on Agricultural Equipment are compromised through the modification of protective measures installed for the benefit of Agricultural Equipment owners, operators and bystanders
  4. Assure that the intellectual property of Manufacturer, including copyrighted software, is fully protected from illegal infringement through the modification of Embedded Software
  5. Assure that compliance with federal and state emissions control requirements is not compromised through changes to power ratings or other modification of control measures installed for the purpose of complying with the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws and regulations

The entire Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.

This new agreement allows farmers access to diagnose and work with repair codes, as well as manuals (operator, parts, service) and product guides. It also ensures farmers will be able to purchase diagnostic tools directly from John Deere and receive assistance from the manufacturer when ordering parts and products. Essentially the goal is to allow farmers a faster return to the field when items break or need repaired. They will no longer have to wait for authorized repair techs if the can repair or diagnose the problem themselves.

“This agreement reaffirms the longstanding commitment Deere has made to ensure our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines. We look forward to working alongside the American Farm Bureau and our customers in the months and years ahead to ensure farmers continue to have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.”

-David Gilmore, John Deere Senior Vice President, Ag & Turf Sales & Marketing

The MOU has the potential to serve as a model for other manufacturers and American Farm Bureau Federation has already begun those discussions.

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