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The Illinois right to repair legislation, also known as House Bill 3061, was sponsored by Democratic Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. The bill requires manufacturers of farming equipment to enable farmers to repair their equipment and offer the equipment software at a cost to farmers.
This legislation was a product of the challenges farmers are experiencing when repairing tractors from John Deere and other manufacturers. This bill is against manufacturers withholding software that farmers can use to diagnose and make repairs to their equipment. Here’s some info that can help farmers decide whether to repair or replace their equipment.
The Illinois right to repair legislation, also known as House Bill 3061, was sponsored by Democratic Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg.
The Digital Fair Repair Act states that manufacturers of farming equipment shall:
I. Avail the diagnostics and repair documentation to buyers of the equipment and independent repair providers.
II. Provide the tools and updates of the associated software of the parts to buyers, authorized agents, and independent repair providers. In addition, these items should be available at reasonable and fair terms.
Any violation of the act will be unlawful under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. And to that extent, the law is going to be in effect on January 1st, 2022. Have a look at what the law says in the Florida right to repair initiative.
John Deere, a prominent member of the Association of Equipment manufacturers, promised farmers that they would get the tools they need to repair their machines in 2021. However, as of July 2021, Deer has not been faithful to its promise. Although countless farmers have been able to repair their equipment over the years, the new technological advancement is a disadvantage to farmers. Now farmers have to take their machinery back to the manufacturer’s associated repair facilities or dealerships for repairs.
If a farmer tries to repair the new machines without diagnosing the problem using the right tools, they cannot make the repairs. The new machines have sensors and control systems that are not familiar to farmers. These systems (sensors and control networks) seem to be the point of failure, not the hardware parts familiar to farmers.
According to U.S. PIRG, farming equipment manufacturers have set up a system to monopolize equipment repairs. This lucrative move has made these companies rich. For example, if you look at John Deer’s annual sales reports from 2013 to 2019, their profits rose by 22% ($6.7 billion), while the equipment sales fell by 19% ($23.7 billion).
The basis of manufacturers to oppose the act is on the software grounds. They say that making public their proprietary information could lead to the theft of their programming secrets. In addition, farmers may make illegal modifications to their equipment, jeopardizing their safety controls and environmental measures on the software.
But according to the Digital Right to Repair Act, there is a provision for the equipment manufacturer only to divulge what is necessary to offer parts, documentation, and tools on reasonable terms.
According to U.S. PIRG, farming equipment manufacturers have set up a system to monopolize equipment repairs.
Does Illinois Have Right to Repair?
Illinois has an opportunity to have a right to repair law for tractors, digital equipment, farm equipment, and even mobile phones. Currently, Illinois lawmakers are considering making HB3061, the Digital Fair Repair Act, come to life.
Why does maintaining the right to repair vehicles get more challenging every year?
Consumers are paying hefty amounts for repairs because manufacturers are charging exorbitant prices. In other cases, farmers end up throwing away some equipment because the cost of repairing it is too high.
When should a tractor be serviced?
Firstly, suppose you cannot find the right information in the tractor’s manual. In that case, the minimum requirement is to replace the oil at least after every 600 hours or six months.
STAT: Farmers using modern equipment can undertake 95% of the repairs. (source)