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Right-to-repair bill introduced in House agriculture committee

Tomas Hertogh
"This bill will save Michigan’s farmers time and money by giving them the freedom to make their own repairs and maintenance decisions. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill over the finish line,” said bill sponsor Rep. Reggie Miller, D-Van Buren Township.

A bill was introduced in Lansing Thursday that would limit manufacturers from restricting a farmer’s access to the tools they need to maintain or repair their equipment.

If a new tractor or combine breaks down in the field, getting it repaired isn’t like it used to be.

That’s because new farming equipment is often electronically controlled and requires sophisticated software to operate things like the GPS and automatic steering.

Farmers say their options are limited for getting things fixed. They rely on authorized dealers from the supplier to resolve issues with the equipment.

And many of the manufacturers don’t grant access to manuals or other technical knowledge to farmers to fix problems.

Jackson Pahle is Rep. Reggie Miller’s legislative director. Miller sponsored the right-to-repair bill.

"We specifically mentioned in our bill that this is not to disclose trade secrets, trade secrets, it's really just to allow farmers to have the option to choose their service and their repair schedule provider," said Pahle.

The legislation only impacts the agriculture sector. It doesn’t impact automotive or digital technology industries.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.