A John Deere 8RX tractor
Enlarge / Modern farm equipment is packed full of software, and repairs have become a real pain.

Farmers have the right to repair their John Deere tractor on their own or through an independent third party. John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday detailing the company's responsibilities to provide diagnostic tools and software outside of the company's official repair centers.

The right for consumers to repair their own property, be that cars, electronics, or farm equipment, has grown over the past few years, with some states taking action to codify the right for their residents. Farmers have been at odds with John Deere since 2016 when the company changed its end- user license to require that any repairs involving embedded software be carried out by authorized technicians. The restrictions imposed upon farmers did not go down well as modern tractor are packed full of complicated electronics.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in July of 2021. The order called on the FTC to prevent unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.

"If you own a product, from a phone to a tractor, you don't have the freedom to choose how or where to repair it," Biden said six months later.


John Deere and the AFBF acted ahead of any federal rulemaking.

The agreement with John Deere was announced by the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. It protects John Deere's intellectual property rights and ensures equipment safety while addressing a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers. A piece of equipment can cost a lot of money. The freedom to choose where equipment is repaired or to repair it themselves is important for controlling costs. 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.

Deere has made a long standing commitment to ensure that their customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines. John Deere and the American Farm Bureau will work together to make sure farmers have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain, and repair their equipment.

John Deere has an obligation to give access to its diagnostic tools, manuals, product service demos, training, and seminars to farmers on fair and reasonable terms according to the Memorandum of Understanding between John Deere and the AFBF. Safety controls, including emissions equipment, cannot be compromised or disabled, and it assures John Deere that its intellectual property will be protected frominfringement.

The agreement sets up a mechanism to deal with disagreements between farmers and John Deere and the AFBF will meet with the company twice a year to make sure things run smoothly.