Nebraska Bill Would Let Farmers Work on Their Own Tractors

Nicholas Bergin reported earlier this week at the Lincoln Journal Star Online that, “Mick Minchow’s tractors are marvels of modern machinery.

“They have air conditioning, guidance systems, satellite radio and more sensors than he can shake a corn cob at, all kept running by computer systems and software.

But there’s one thing the Waverly farmer doesn’t have: the right to fix his John Deere 8235 R if it goes on the fritz.”

Mr. Bergin explained that, “Gone are the days when farmers could be their own mechanics. Just taking a peek under the metaphorical hood of the computers that run the big tractor could put Minchow in violation of the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“It’s the same for digital products from cellphones to printers to concrete crushers that rely on computer programs to run.

Nebraska is one of four states to consider legislation that would require manufacturers to make diagnostic, service and technical information available to farmers and independent repair technicians. The others are Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York.”

The Star article pointed out that, “Proponents of Nebraska’s Fair Repair Bill say it would let farmers work on their own equipment and allow independent mechanics to help get machines running quicker;” and added that, “John Hansen, president of the state’s second largest agricultural advocacy organization, the Nebraska Farmers Union, supports the Right to Repair efforts saying farmers should have the same option to get their tractor fixed by an independent mechanic as they do when they need to get their truck fixed.”

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