LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- CLAAS of America became the fifth equipment manufacturer to agree to provide the tools necessary for farmers and independent repair shops to repair farm equipment after the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the AFBF on Wednesday.
CLAAS follows in the footsteps of John Deere, CNH Industrial Brands (which includes Case IH and New Holland), AGCO and Kubota, in signing agreements that now cover about three-fourths of all ag equipment sold in the U.S.
John Deere was the first company to sign an MOU back in January, in the wake of several anti-trust lawsuits filed by farmers across the country seeking to require the company to provide diagnostic and other tools to farmers and independent repair shops.
"The memorandum of understanding with CLAAS demonstrates AFBF's continued commitment to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to keep their farms running, and America's families fed," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a news release.
"Farmers and ranchers are more dependent on technology than ever before and they asked us to find a private-sector solution to the right-to-repair issue. This agreement is another step toward guaranteeing timely repairs for farmers regardless of the equipment they use."
Eric Raby, senior vice president, Americas, for CLAAS said, "CLAAS is delivering on our continuing promise to provide solutions that improve our customers' businesses, as their success and our success go hand in hand."
The agreement with CLAAS creates a framework for farmers and independent repair facilities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to access technical manuals, tools, and product guides to self-diagnose and self-repair machines, while "respecting intellectual property and legislated legal requirements" of the manufacturer, according to AFBF. The MOU also reconfirms the ability to lease diagnostic tools and purchase products and parts from CLAAS dealers.
In particular, the MOU was signed to ensure farmers and independent repair shops have access to CLAAS's diagnostic system.
"Manufacturer shall ensure that any farmer, including any staff or independent technician assisting a farmer at a farmer's request, and any independent repair facility that provides assistance to farmers," the MOU said, "have electronic access on fair and reasonable terms to the CDS diagnostic tool, which is available for farmers and independent repair facilities to purchase in the United States from authorized repair facilities and/or the manufacturer."
The CLAAS MOU comes two months after the state of Colorado passed and signed into law a right-to-repair bill for ag equipment -- the first of its kind in the U.S., https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Farmers across the country have filed a series of class-action lawsuits against John Deere, https://www.dtnpf.com/…. The cases allege the company has monopolized the repair service market for John Deere brand ag equipment with onboard central computers known as engine control units, or ECUs.
The right to repair increasingly has become an issue in agriculture and other industries with state legislatures introducing bills addressing the issue in at least 32 states, including bills in 21 states in 2021.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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