11 States Have Had Enough of Inflated Grocery Costs; Now Taking the Fight to Equipment Companies

Paula Cobleigh / shutterstock.com
Paula Cobleigh / shutterstock.com

For years now, farmers have been forced to purchase equipment that relies heavily on the manufacturer to fix. Without a secondary market of repair, or processes to keep their equipment running properly, it’s like they never truly own their equipment. Farmers like Danny Wood find themselves being forced to race their planting.

While the proso millet, dryland corn, and winter wheat that he grows in short seasonal windows are already only able to be planted in a limited timeframe, he finds himself consistently worried about his equipment going down. Last spring fertilizing operations were stuck in place for three days as he waited for a technician could come out and install three lines of computer code for $950.

Already operating on razor-thin profit margins and tight timelines, this kind of service can be detrimental to many farms. As it stands, Wood spent $300,000 on the used tractor and is still dealing with this. “That’s where they have us over the barrel, it’s more like we are renting it than buying it.”

Fortunately, bipartisan leaders across 11 states have had enough of these companies’ treating farmers like this. Rep. Brianna Titone (D-CO) is one of the bill’s sponsors and is incredibly vocal about farmers’ rights. “The manufacturers and the dealers have a monopoly on that repair market because it’s lucrative. (Farmers) just want to get their machine going again.” In Colorado, it’s the Democrats pushing this idea, as conservatives are stuck between big business and the farmers’ push to be able to repair their own equipment.

Manufacturers are against this idea because they claim it will force them to expose their trade secrets, make it easier for farmers to bypass environmental regulations and run their tractors beyond regulations, and risk farmers’ safety and the environment. This kind of argument has been heard across the country for decades. From pacemakers to iPhones, people have been clamoring for a “right to repair” on multiple products.

Back in 2011, Congress tried getting a right-to-repair bill through, this time focused on car owners and independent servicing companies. It failed but a few short years later manufacturers agreed to release tools and information to people and independent shops to repair vehicles, not just authorized dealerships.

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission issued a pledge at the urging of President Biden to push the rights to repair on manufacturers harder than before. Last year Rep. Titone was successful at getting wheelchair manufacturers to allow users to fix their chairs. As Colorado’s first right-to-repair bill, she has established a short but firm track record of getting them to do the right thing.

Now, Colorado is being joined by 10 other states like Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Vermont in the fight against the makers of these tractors. From the thin ones designed to navigate down the vineyards in Napa, California to the half-million dollar harvesting combines, they are taking them all on. They want to see what is best for the farmers.

Wood’s tractor flies an American flag proclaiming “Farmer’s First” so when the 9-4 vote on this bill came out split right down the party lines, he was shocked the left was the only one supporting him. Being upset and shocked by this isn’t an unusual reaction. For decades, the left has ignored the farmers, but now they are caring. Then again, when the tractors go down, it’s big money.

“Our crop is ready to harvest and we can’t wait five days, but there was nothing else to do. When it’s broke down you just sit there and wait and that’s not acceptable. You can be losing $85,000 a day.” Yet Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-CO) who represents his district and is a rancher himself cannot see it from the farmer’s perspective. “I do sympathize with my farmers,” said Holtorf, before adding “I don’t think it’s the role of government to be forcing the sale of their intellectual property.”

Right is right, but Rep. Holtorf is wrong here. Denying support to the farmers only encourages higher food prices and encourages Americans to be reliant on the Government, aka the cornerstone of the liberal agenda to destroy America.

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