John Deere’s Right to Repair

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written By:

Updated October 9, 2022

The Right to Repair movement continues to impact all areas of life, but perhaps one of the most affected sectors is the agriculture industry. Ongoing lawsuits between farmers and large equipment companies continue to heat up over the right to fix and repair their tractors and access to parts. As a result, companies like John Deere are finally ceding ground now that the federal government increased pressure to act. Below, we’ll explain John Deere’s Right to Repair response and what this means for you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The agriculture industry has some of the most abusive restrictions regarding consumer access to independent repair and parts.
  • John Deere continues adding software solutions to their equipment, making it harder for consumers to make repairs.
  • In March 2022, John Deere issued changes regarding increasing the availability of diagnostic equipment and software updates.

Understanding how the Right to Repair movement affects many major tech companies is crucial. For more helpful guides on how your rights as a consumer are expanding, check out our article about Apple’s Right to Repair. We also have some helpful explainers in this area, like our piece explaining what a durable good is.

Insider Tip

Older tractors don’t have the complicated technical layout of newer models providing greater access to self-repair.

John Deere’s Right to Repair

John Deere is the largest farm equipment company in the United States. And for a long time, they placed immense repair restrictions on owners’ abilities to service their agricultural equipment. By controlling the market for repair, Deere & Co. reduced independent repair shops and ensured that owners could only take their machines to authorized dealers.

Additionally, John Deere began to make its products more technical and reliant on diagnostic software. Implementing these diagnostic tools further suffocated the repair market and increased the need for farmers to rely on dealerships for help during breakdowns and software updates.

However, in early 2022, the Federal Trade Commission called for a rollback of anti-competitive trends in many industries. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) even formed the Agricultural Right to Repair Act, calling for the elimination of unfair repair restrictions in the agricultural industry. If passed, this bill mandates manufacturers to sell parts directly to American farmers. The result would remove the need for authorized dealerships and open the tractor market to allow independent technicians to service John Deere equipment.

The Right to Repair movement isn’t limited to any one sector. We have a resource explaining what a manufacturer warranty is for those further interested in how the ongoing consumer rights movement concerns them.

John Deere’s Response

Some major tech companies, like Apple, have begun issuing service manuals and designing their products to meet the growing consumer rights movement. However, Deere & Co. has taken a more defensive stance toward repair legislation. The major tractor company continues to battle repair lawsuits and refuses to allow for independent modification of John Deere equipment. But this doesn’t mean Deere & Co. is completely against expanding consumer access to repair tools.

In March 2022, John Deere issued a press release explaining their expanding access to diagnostic equipment. They also announced their launch of an interface allowing farmers to download software updates directly to their equipment.

Warning

Leasing a tractor from John Deere increases the number of restrictions concerning independent repairs.

For a look into more company responses to the consumer rights movement, we have an additional article on Sony’s Right to Repair response.

STAT: John Deere was founded in 1837 in Moline, Illinois. (source)

John Deere's Right to Repair FAQs

What are the reasons farmers are suing Deere & Co. for?

The main reason for many lawsuits is locking farmers out of their equipment via software updates and forcing them to pay exorbitant fees for upgrades.

What reasons does John Deere cite for not giving consumers control over their equipment?

Tech officials at the John Deere warn of potential malfunction from slipshod independent repairs, as well as violations of emissions compliance.

Who is suing John Deere?

Many groups, like the National Farmers Union and North Dakota and Montana Farmer's Unions, have formed class action lawsuits against John Deere.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image