Agricultural Right to Repair Act introduced
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced the “Agricultural Right to Repair Act” on Tuesday, Feb. 1, taking an important step toward breaking consolidated equipment manufacturers’ monopoly over repair for critical farm tools.
The bill comes after significant progress made in the past two years including:
- A number of high-profile lawsuits challenging restrictive repair practices,
- More than a dozen state proposals of right to repair legislation,
- President Joe Biden’s executive order pushing the Federal Trade Commission to use its statutory authority to enact rules preventing restrictions on repair by dominant manufacturers in July 2021,
- And the publication of a report and guidance document from the FTC in May 2021 and July 2021, respectively, that will create a significant deterrent on manufacturers implementing restrictive repair practices.
In response to the bill announcement, Daniel Hanley, senior legal analyst at the Open Markets Institute said the Agricultural Right to Repair Act is the common-sense, long-overdue shield that farmers have been waiting for.
"It restores farmer access to the parts, tools, and software necessary to repair their equipment and do their jobs. The act mandates manufacturers to provide access to such essential repair equipment on fair and reasonable terms or even at no charge," Hanley said in a statement.
Hanley said the bill's requirements would prevent dominant manufacturers from using their monopoly control to unilaterally restrict repair of their products. The act also protects farmers from unnecessary and exploitative expenditures demanded by dominant manufacturers to access repair documents, parts, tools, or software they should already be allowed to access with purchase of their products.
“The Open Markets Institute has made right to repair a central component of our policy agenda. We believe this bill advances farmers’ right to repair and applaud Sen. Tester for stepping up for farmers,” he said.