Spanberger Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Establish Right to Repair Ag Equipment for Virginia Farmers & Producers

Sep 21, 2023
Agriculture
Press

The Legislation Would Require Original Equipment Manufacturers to Make it Easier for Farmers to Make Repairs, Reduce Maintenance Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee — yesterday helped introduce legislation to guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end burdensome restrictions on the repair market.

With advanced technology now being incorporated into production agriculture, it has become more and more difficult for farmers and producers to fix their own equipment — hurting the bottom lines of both producers and local non-dealer-certified repair shops. The Agriculture Right to Repair Act defines what type of information Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are required to provide to make repair accessible. If the OEM does not have the digital or physical tools available, they are required to provide sufficient information to create the tools. Additionally, the bill gives the Federal Trade Commission the ability to enforce these requirements and the ability to make a rule to assist in the implementation of these requirements.

“Farmers and producers deserve access to the tools and software necessary to repair their equipment and do their jobs — without having to work through expensive and cumbersome hurdles,” said Spanberger. “Agriculture is already a demanding line of work, with tight windows dictating when producers can plant or harvest crops. When machinery breaks, time is of the essence, and farmers shouldn’t have to wait weeks to get a service appointment. I’m proud to help lead the Agriculture Right to Repair Act to put this ability back in the hands of the farmers and producers that work hard to keep America fed and fueled.”

The Agriculture Right to Repair Act is supported by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, as well as producers in Virginia and across the United States.

“This bill will help farmers do a lot more than just save money on a repair bill. Farmers operate in windows of opportunity sent by the weather. When key equipment is down you can easily lose that window. Nothing is more aggravating than having to wait 2 or 3 days for a service tech to get there because they are understaffed and overloaded at the dealership,” said William Biscoe, a farmer in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. “The Agricultural Right to Repair Act is a commonsense solution to help ensure farmers and ranchers are able to access the tools, technology and expertise needed to stay in the fields and produce the nation’s food supply. We thank Congresswoman Spanberger for helping lead this effort.”

Spanberger is leading the Agriculture Right to Repair Act alongside U.S. Representatives Marie Glusenkamp Perez (D-WA-03), Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-07).

Click here for bill text.

BACKGROUND

As the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Spanberger has long worked to cut red tape and advance priorities important to Virginia’s farmers and producers. Earlier this year, Spanberger hosted a Farm Bill Summit to hear from Virginia farmers and producers, provided them an outlook on the future of federal programs that impact Virginia’s farm economy, and responded to feedback about existing rules and regulations in the ag industry.

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