The media’s reporting that the American Farm Bureau Federation signed a Memorandum of understanding -or MoU) with the maker of JOHN DEERE tractors to facilitate maintenance and repair of that kind of equipment in the future, without necessarily going through authorized dealers and technicians.
In today’s world, farm tractors are complicated bits of machinery which can no longer be repaired on-site by farmers themselves. All too often, the documentation, information and specialized tools required to perform requisite maintenance or repairs just isn’t available at large, so that the only possibility for farmers is to obtain the services of technicians authorized by John Deere itself. Contrary to how it used to be, a farmer can no longer hope to service his (her) tractor himself (herself), this is simply no longer possible; even calling upon a local mechanic to do so may be problematic as he (she) may not even have all the information, documentation and tools to get the job done.
Now, further to execution of the recent MoU, the manufacturer should make available to John Deere tractor owners documentation, information, specifications and specialized tools (like software) which may be require to allow or facilitate maintenance or repairs on tractors of that make.
Interestingly, the MoU states it does not force John Deere to disclose any confidential information or trade secrets, something that may very well end-up gutting the right to repair, some feel. After all, little prevents a company from claiming things like detailed specifications and documentation are proprietary and/or confidential or secret.
It will be interesting to see how John Deere goes about this, in practice, and the extent to which this kind of right to repair arrangement may spread to other manufacturers, industries or activities, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere like in Canada. In the meantime, at the very least, this is a step in the right direction.