ORLANDO, Fla, (DTN) -- After reaching a right-to-repair deal with John Deere earlier this year, the American Farm Bureau Federation on Thursday announced another memorandum of understanding with CNH Industrial Brands, which includes Case IH and New Holland tractors.
Under the agreement, CNH Industrial will ensure farmers, as well as any staff or independent technician or repair shop will have electronic access "on fair and reasonable terms" to Case IH and New Holland tools, specialty tools, software and documentation, including manuals, to make needed repairs. That access will be granted "per subscription or sale," according to the MOU.
Under the agreement, CNH would not be required to divulge information that would allow farmers or independent repair shops to override safety features or emission controls "or to adjust agricultural equipment power levels," or violate any laws or regulations.
In return, similar to the deal AFBF reached with John Deere, Farm Bureau agrees not to use its lobbying influence on right-to-repair legislation. The MOU requires AFBF "to encourage state Farm Bureau organizations to recognize the commitments made in this MOU and refrain from introducing, promoting, or supporting federal or state 'Right to Repair' legislation that imposes obligations beyond the commitments in this MOU."
If any right-to-repair legislation or regulation is enacted, AFBF and CNH would have the right to withdraw from the MOU as well.
Under the deal, CNH Industrial and AFBF also will meet semiannually to review the agreement and address ongoing concerns. The AFBF board of directors unanimously approved the MOU with CNH Industrial brands Case IH and New Holland.
"Our members urged us to find a private sector-solution that gives them access to repair their own equipment and I'm pleased months of discussions have again paid off," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "Farmers and ranchers are more dependent on technology than ever before, so it's critical they have access to the tools to keep things running on the farm so the food supply chain keeps running, too."
Vice President for New Holland Agriculture North America Sally Johnson said, "We understand the work our customers do is time-sensitive and critical for a safe and abundant food and fiber supply," said Sally Johnson,. "This agreement is the next step in delivering on New Holland's promise to better serve our customers, and in a way that helps them safely and effectively manage and maintain their equipment uptime."
Vice President for Case IH North America Kurt Coffey added that the agreement underscores CNH Industrial's commitment to empower its customers with the right tools and resources to safely self-repair their equipment in a timely manner.
"We know that agricultural equipment is one of the most significant investments for the American farmer," Coffey said. "As a farmer, Farm Bureau member myself and brand leader, this MOU is a positive step forward in continuing to put the customer at the center of everything Case IH does."
AFBF's MOU with Deere drew criticism from right-to-repair advocates and other farm groups that noted the agreement does not have the force of law behind it. The two MOUs, however, now cover two of the largest tractor and equipment sellers in North America.
CNH hasn't faced the litigation that John Deere is facing over right-to-repair issues. Deere is tied up in litigation with farmers who allege Deere violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and seek damages for farmers who paid for repairs from John Deere dealers beginning on Jan. 12, 2018, to the present.
At least 11 states right now have had bills introduced over right to repair. Some are broader than farmers and tractors and involve consumer goods as well. The Colorado House of Representatives last month advanced a bill that would expand farmers' right to repair their equipment. So far, the Colorado Senate has not taken up the bill.
See, "Biden Administration Asks Court to Reject John Deere Motion in Right-to-Repair Case,"
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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