Texas farmers pushing for the right to repair their own equipment

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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HOWE, Texas (KXII) - At the heart of keeping American agriculture moving is farmers and their equipment.

Nearly a dozen states and a handful of national manufacturing companies are considering a way to rethink that relationship.

“Right now, we’re in the midst of planting our corn,” said Scott Renfro, a farmer in Howe, Texas.

At Renfro Farms, not a moment is wasted.

“Whether we’re planting or harvest or plowing, all those are critical times that we really need to be in the field, and if you experience a breakdown time is of the essence,” said Renfro.

Without an memorandum of understanding, if a piece of equipment breaks down, it could take days or weeks before someone from the manufacturer could come out and get it running again.

“It’s easier to be able to go out there and address the problem if you’re able and capable of doing it then having to wait and then you’re not able to get out and get you’re crop planted,” said Renfro.

What might have taken a week now could possibly take one day, thanks to a memorandum of understanding between American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere.

Instead of calling a manufacturer for help, farmers like Scott Renfro now have the right to repair their own farm equipment.

“It’s really he first of it’s kind,” said Gary Joiner, spokesperson for the Texas Farm Bureau. “There’s hope that other manufacturers that other farmers and ranchers use will perhaps follow this model or have discussions to that extent.”

Both Case IH and New Holland are enacting similar MOU’s.

“These memorandums of understanding could be a great benefit and help American agriculture,” said Joiner.

The Texas legislature is also looking at two bills granting farmers access to software and parts they need to fix critical equipment like tractors all on their own.

“it’s an important issue for farmers and ranchers right now to have the freedom to repair their own equipment or choose where they’re going to have it repaired,” said Joiner.

Farmers said these agreements get them back in the field faster, and it’s sowing the seeds of a new era of agriculture.